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403(b) Plan filings


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So, for the new compliance questions, 14a, 14b, 15. (5500-SF)

The DOL instructions seem a bit ambiguous to me. Is a 403(b) plan required to input the opinion letter # on line 15? 

For 14a, as unlikely as it probably is, a 403(b) plan may use a qualified plan to pass 410(b), although the reverse is not true. So this could be checked "no."

14b - seems like it shouldn't need to be checked at all, but perhaps "N/A" would be appropriate, even if unnecessary.

15 - the instructions seem to exclude an opinion letter on a 403(b) plan. 

What are y'all doing on these? P.S. the EBSA electronic filing system "accepts" the 5500 on a 403(b) whether you fill these out or not... don't know whether there will be a kickback/inquiry at some future date depending upon how you complete it, or not...

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FWIW - FT William, while observing that the EBSA electronic filing system will "accept" these filings even if the fields aren't completed, had this to say:

However, the DOL did not have additional edit checks, warnings/ errors, or additional guidance pertaining to these fields other than the formatting of the opinion serial number. We have discussed this internally and added a warning when the fields have not been completed.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Additional blathering - as I consider this more, the instructions for Line 15 on the 5500-SF don't mention an opinion letter for a 403(b), and rightly so, I believe, since the pre-approved 403(b) plans were given, as I recall, Advisory letters, and not Opinion letters. Revenue Procedure 2017-41 specifically states that Opinion letters for 403(b) plans will not be issued under that Revenue Procedure. Which also makes sense because the 403(b) submissions to the IRS were back in 2015...

Perhaps the NEW pre-approved 403(b) plans will, when approved later this year, be Opinion letters - I dunno. But for now, I feel more comfortable with not answering Questions 14b and 15 for a 403(b). Of course, the DOL might not agree with my opinion...

Without spending even more time on this stupid subject, I haven't done a truly detailed analysis, so the above isn't a truly thorough and and carefully researched thought process.

Anyone with any additional off-the-cuff thoughts?

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