The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a program under which the IRS will forward a letter to a missing individual on behalf of a private individual or government agency if this action is for a humane purpose and there is no other way to relay the information to the individual. Under Revenue Procedure 94-22, an individual, company, or organization that controls assets due a taxpayer—including plan administrators, sponsors of qualified retirement plans, or qualified termination administrators of abandoned plans under the Department of Labor’s Abandoned Plan Program attempting to locate missing plan participants—had been allowed to make a written request to the IRS to use its letter-forwarding program. Under recently issued guidance, the IRS will no longer provide letter-forwarding services to locate a taxpayer who may be owed assets from an individual, company, or organization, including qualified retirement plans. As noted by the IRS in its new guidance, several alternative missing person locator resources, including the Internet, have become available to plan sponsors since Revenue Procedure 94-22 was published.

The new restrictions on the scope of the IRS letter-forwarding program apply to requests postmarked on and after August 31, 2012. Plan sponsors should review their plan language and administrative procedures for locating missing plan participants and make appropriate adjustments in light of the new restrictions on the letter-forwarding program. (Rev. Proc. 2012-35)