Is Your 401(k) Plan IRS Compliant?

If you answer NO to any of these questions, you may have made a mistake in the operation of your 401(k) plan…

1. Has your plan document been updated within the past few years?                                        If your plan hasn’t been updated to reflect recent law changes, the plan needs to be revised.

2. Are the plan operations based on the plan document terms?                                                 Failure to follow the terms of the plan is a common problem found on audit.

3. Is the plan definition of compensation for all deferrals and allocations used
correctly?                                                                                                                                                               Your plan may use different definitions of compensation for different purposes. It’s important that you apply the proper definition found in your plan document.

4. Were employer matching contributions made to appropriate employees under the plan terms?                                                                                                                                                      The plan terms must be followed when allocating employer matching contributions.

5. Has the plan satisfied the 401(k) ADP and ACP nondiscrimination tests?                       Most 401(k) plans must satisfy yearly ADP/ACP nondiscrimination tests.

6. Were all eligible employees identified and given the opportunity to make an elective  deferral?                                                                                                                                              By supplying your tax advisor with information regarding all employees who receive a Form W-2, you may reduce the risk of omitting eligible employees.

7. Are elective deferrals limited to the IRC Section 402(g) limits for the calendar
Failure to distribute deferrals in excess of the 402(g) limit may result in additional taxes and penalties to the participant and employer.

8. Have you timely deposited employee elective deferrals?
You should deposit deferrals as soon as they can be segregated from the employer’s assets.

9. Do participant loans meet the plan document and IRC Section 72(p)
Defaulted loans or loans in violation of IRC Section 72(p) maybe treated as a taxable distribution to the participant.

10. Were hardship distributions made properly?
If a plan allows hardship distributions, the plan terms must be followed.

11. Were top-heavy minimum contributions made?
If the plan is top-heavy, minimum contributions for non-key employees are required.

12. Was Form 5500 filed?
Many 401(k) plans must make an annual filing with the Federal government.

This checklist can be found on the IRS website at