Ivins attorney Robin M. Solomon was quoted in a Tax Notes article about IRS Notice 2018-24, which requests comments on potentially expanding the scope of the determination letter program for individually designed plans in 2019.
Robin M. Solomon of Ivins, Phillips & Barker Chtd. saw the April 5 issuance of the notice as an encouraging sign and said that expanding the program would be especially beneficial for qualified plans with complex benefit formulas or multiple legacy arrangements where prototypes aren’t a viable alternative.
According to Solomon, hiring a law firm to provide an opinion letter may offer peace of mind to third parties, such as lenders or accounting firms, but it offers no real protection against plan disqualification by the IRS.
A frequently overlooked benefit of the determination letter process is that it imposes a periodic compliance framework for reviewing, restating, and updating a qualified plan, said Solomon, who teaches on qualified retirement plans at Georgetown University Law Center. “It would take tremendous discipline for employers to replicate this process without the structure of the determination letter program,” she said.