This report summarizes a limited extension to the amendment deadline for certain changes to taxqualified retirement plans required under the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA).

PPA Original Amendment Deadline

Under the PPA, certain amendments to tax-qualified plans were generally required to be made by the end of the 2009 plan year (December 31, 2009 for plans with a calendar plan year).

Limited Extended Amendment Deadline

The IRS recently issued Notice 2009-97, which extends the amendment deadline to the end of the 2010 plan year for the following three specific PPA changes:  

  • Funding-based limits on benefits and benefit accruals under single employer defined benefit pension plans;  
  • Vesting and other special rules for cash balance pension plans; and  
  • Investment diversification requirements for defined contribution retirement plans (other than employee stock ownership plans) that allow or require contributions to be invested in employer securities.

Notice 2009-97 also provides relief from "anti-cutback" requirements for one category of amendments adopted during the extended amendment period. This anticutback relief allows a plan to comply in operation with the PPA's funding-based limits on benefits and benefit accruals during the extended amendment period, and the plan's operations can later be reflected in an amendment adopted during the extended amendment period.  

Finally, the notice states that additional relief from anticutback requirements is expected when final cash balance pension plan regulations are issued for amendments adopted during the extended period for the PPA provisions for such plans.  

Unchanged Amendment Deadline for Other PPA Changes

Since the relief offered by Notice 2009-97 is limited, most tax-qualified retirement plans still need to be amended by the end of the 2009 plan year.