The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released its 2012 Cumulative List of Changes in Plan Qualification Requirements (2012 Cumulative List) (IRS Notice 2012-76) (pdf) to be used by plan sponsors and practitioners submitting qualified plan determination letter applications for plans during the period beginning February 1, 2013 and ending January 31, 2014. The IRS publishes this annual list to identify various statutory, regulatory, and guidance changes that plan sponsors need to take into account when requesting IRS opinion, advisory, and determination letters.

According to the IRS, pension plans using this Cumulative List will primarily be single employer individually designed defined contribution plans and single employer individually designed defined benefit plans that are in Cycle C, and §414(d) governmental plans (including governmental multiemployer or governmental multiple employer plans) that choose to file during Cycle C.

The 2012 Cumulative List reflects law changes under the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA ’06); the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007; the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (HEART Act); the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (WRERA); the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (SBJA); the Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010 (PRA 2010); and the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

In addition, the List includes agency guidance issued after October 1, 2012, such as:

  • Final regulations providing an additional limited exception to the anti-cutback rules to permit a plan sponsor that is a debtor in a bankruptcy proceeding to amend its single employer defined benefit plan to eliminate a single-sum distribution option (or other optional form of benefit providing for accelerated payments) under the plan if certain specified conditions are satisfied.
  • Notice 2012-70, 2012-51 I.R.B., (pdf) which extends the deadline previously set forth in Notice 2011-96, 2011-52 I.R.B. 915, to amend a defined benefit plan to satisfy the requirements of § 436 and provides associated relief from the requirements of § 411(d)(6).

The agency notes that the 2012 Cumulative List “does not extend the deadline by which a plan must be amended to comply with any statutory, regulatory, or guidance changes.” Also, the IRS emphasizes that a plan “must comply with all relevant qualification requirements, not just those on the 2012 Cumulative List.”