The IRS Significantly Increased the Availability of Mid-Year Changes to Safe Harbor Plans

Mid-year changes to safe harbor 401(k) plans have long been thought to be available in only very limited circumstances.  However, the IRS recently released guidance in Notice 2016-16 that significantly increases the scope of permissible mid-year changes to safe harbor 401(k) plans.

Generally, safe harbor 401(k) plan provisions must be adopted (and participants must be notified) before the first day of the plan year and remain in effect for the entire 12-month plan year.  Such a plan generally loses its safe harbor status if changes are made during the plan year.  However, the safe harbor regulations set out the following limited exceptions to the general rule:

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