Reminder: Retirement Plan Amendments Due By February 28

The IRS has issued a reminder to employers and retirement plan administrators that they must amend their employees' retirement plans to comply with the changes made by the "GUST" laws by the February 28, 2002, deadline. The deadline affects qualified retirement plans, including Code Sec. 401(k) plans, defined benefit pension plans, profit-sharing plans, ESOPs and Keogh plans.

An exception to the February 28, 2002, deadline exists for plans with a fiscal year other than a calendar year. The deadline for those plans is the last day of the fiscal year that began in 2001. Also, most pre-approved plans (master, prototype and volume submitter) have an extended deadline of December 31, 2002, or, in some cases, even later. Plans directly affected by the September 11 terrorist attack have been given an automatic extension to June 30, 2002, with the possibility to extend that deadline to December 31, 2002, upon filing an application for extension. Rev. Proc. 2000-27, I.R.B. 2000-26, 12, and Rev. Proc. 2001-55, I.R.B. 2001-49, 552, explain the deadlines and applicable extensions. In addition, the IRS website, www.irs.gov/ep and the newsletter, "Employee Plans News," offer additional information. Failure to amend the plans by the appropriate deadline will affect the plan's qualified status, as well as the trust's tax exemption.

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