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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas
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IRS Issues Long-Awaited Proposed Regulations for 403(b) Plans

November 18, 2004

A notice of proposed rulemaking published this week by the Internal Revenue Service is aimed at conforming the regulations governing 403(b) plans to reflect numerous pension and tax law changes that have been enacted over the past three decades. In addition, the proposed rules are aimed at further diminishing the differences between 401(k) plan rules and those for the 403(b) plans. The rules would become effective for tax year 2006. The IRS must receive comments on the rules by February 14, 2005. A public hearing has been scheduled for February 15.

The notice, published in the November 16 Federal Register , streamlines existing definitions and sets forth requirements covering:

  • elective deferrals;
  • catch up rules for employees over 50;
  • determination of years of service;
  • nondiscrimination rules and universal availability;
  • timing of distributions and benefits;
  • funding of plans; and
  • controlled group rules.

Requests to testify and an outline of topics to be discussed at the February 15 hearing must be received by the IRS no later than January 25, 2005.