An IRS plan audit uniquely focuses an employer’s mind on the core identity of its qualified retirement plan, which is that of a tax exempt organization, but one whose exemption (or “qualification”) requirements are far pickier than those applicable to one’s favorite charity. Any single material operational violation or non-conforming written plan provision risks disqualification

Here are some of the types of issues that cross my desk and upon which I advise:

• An HR manager allowed a 10 percent employer contribution into the 401(k) using inaccurate Box 1 W-2 amounts;

• Another HR manager failed to automatically enroll new employees who were part of a recent company acquisition;

Frequently a plan sponsor’s operational failure to follow the terms of its 401(k) or other qualified plan can be corrected under the IRS’s Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS”) (described at http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/EPCRS-Overview) with a retroactive amendment instead of a sometimes expensive financial correction. This possibility should not be surprising, given that the maintenance of

The Internal Revenue Service encourages employers and other retirement plan sponsors to voluntarily and timely correct plan failures to help ensure the plans’ ongoing tax-qualified status (and tax-favored treatment). However, in some cases, the IRS’ Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS” – most recently restated in Revenue Procedure 2013-12) correction method for minor errors results