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PLR on Proposed Plan?


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Does anyone know if the IRS will issue a PLR on the church plan status of a proposed retirement plan?  Sponsor would like to adopt a plan but wants to know what they are getting into. 

I know Rev. Proc. 2020-1 states will not issue a PLR on a "hypothetical situation or alternatives of a proposed transaction," but it's not 100% clear to me the proposed adoption of a plan falls into those categories.



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I am a little confused by this question.   There are pre-approved 403(b) plans which can be sponsored by churches.  Why doesn't your client just adopt one?   The sticky issue sometimes is whether or not the proposed plan sponsor is actually a church (or comparable religious organization).  If it is clear that the proposed plan sponsor is a church, just help them adopt a pre-approved 403(b) for a Non-Electing Church (assuming they want to not be ERISA) and they will have an IRS Letter which accompanies the Plan.  Let me know if I missed the point of your question!


QBI/ Ascensus

Patricia Neal Jensen, JD

Vice President and Nonprofit Practice Leader

|Future Plan, an Ascensus Company

21031 Ventura Blvd., 12th Floor

Woodland Hills, CA 91364

E patricia.jensen@futureplan.com

P 949-325-6727

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Hmm. I'm not aware of anything in Rev. Proc. 2011-44 or Rev. Proc. 2011-4 that says a plan cannot be merely in proposed form, and PLRs typically are sought for proposed transactions rather than a done deal ... and yet the point of Rev. Proc. 2011-44 was to add a requirement that "interested persons" be notified of the ruling request, such as plan participants, of which there would be none in a proposed plan situation... Hmm.

Certainly the IRS continues to issue church plan rulings, such as this one from January --


Does anybody happen to follow these church plan PLRs regularly, who has seen one that addresses a plan that is proposed rather than already-adopted?

Maybe you could make a phone call to Laura Warshawsky, who is the author of the above-cited recent PLR.

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  • 4 months later...

I am circling back around to this question. 

Patricia - The plan sponsor would like to join an existing multiple employer 403(b) plan for churches, but they are a church-related organization and not an actual church. There is a very strong argument that they are "associated with or controlled by" a church, but the plan administrator will not allow them to join without a Private Letter Ruling. The IRS instructions and checklist for requesting a church plan ruling do not really fit this situation, as we're not requesting a ruling on the actual plan.

I think we would be requesting a ruling on the eligibility of the employer to sponsor a church plan (i.e. are they "associated with or controlled by" a church?), but I am unclear if the IRS will rule on this narrow issue. Any idea?

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