The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) programme for pre-approval of prototype and volume submitter Section 403(b) plan documents was first announced in 2009.(1) Modifications to this programme were recently announced on March 25 2014 under Revenue Procedure 2014-28.

Under the modified programme:

  • the deadline for submissions is extended from April 30 2014 to April 30 2015;
  • vendors which expect a plan to be adopted by at least 15 employers (previously 30) may submit the applicable plan document(s) to the IRS for pre-approval; and
  • vendors which are mass submitters have an additional option for submitting volume submitter specimen plans.

The terms of the programme remain in effect to the extent not superseded by the modified programme.

Employers which adopted a written plan document prior to December 31 2009 may adopt a pre-approved Section 403(b) plan to cure any documentary defects. Employers who have not yet executed a written Section 403(b) plan document will need to consider use of the correction procedure under the IRS's Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) (for further details please see "New IRS programme for retroactive adoption of 403(b) plan documents"). (This correction procedure remains available at the standard EPCRS fee now that the reduced fee has expired.) Similarly, plan sponsors that are aware of specific defects with respect their current Section 403(b) plan may wish to review additional correction procedures available under the EPCRS.

For further information on this topic please contact Joanne C Youn at Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered by telephone (+1 202 862 5000), fax (+1 202 429 3301) or email ( The Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered website can be accessed at


(1) For further details please see "IRS Finalizes Program for Pre-Approval of 403(b) Plan Documents".