Ice Miller works with governmental clients in more than 30 states on compliance issues involving qualified defined benefit and defined contribution plans under IRC Section 401(a).
For most of these clients we have performed a complete compliance review – working through each of the applicable subsections of IRC Section 401(a) and other applicable IRC provisions. We begin with a plan document review to determine if the "plan document" (often found in statutes, regulations, ordinances, and rules) contains currently required language. The next step is working with the client on the appropriate steps for adoption of any needed changes. Plan language changes must always be evaluated in terms of how they will affect the plan's operations. Consequently, the next step in an IRC Section 401(a) compliance effort is often reviewing current policies and procedures or developing new policies and procedures to go along with plan language changes.
Our extensive experience with and understanding of governmental plan regulation affords us the ability to assess when to be proactive and when to maintain current practices. We believe this experience and understanding have stood our clients in good stead. We are cognizant of the necessity of crafting qualification provisions that are sensitive to the needs of members, the budgetary constraints of the contributing employers, and the expectations of the public.
Ice Miller attorneys regularly represent governmental plan clients before the IRS with regard to obtaining determination letters and private letter rulings. Ice Miller attorneys have successfully prepared and submitted to the IRS, on behalf of public pension fund clients, numerous requests for private letter rulings. Ice Miller has also secured many determination letters over the last ten years for statewide governmental plans clients and for large county and city plans. Some of these plans never previously had determination letters, some had one or more prior determination letter(s) that were decades old, and a few plans had recent prior determination letters (these resubmissions often occurred when there was a significant legislative change).