The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service issued guidance Thursday that removes a cumbersome step sponsors of retirement plans must take when accepting rollovers from other employers’ plans. The change applies to any qualified plan, including defined benefit, defined contribution, profit-sharing and stock bonus plans.
The guidance is effective immediately.
The guidance, known as a revenue ruling, allows an administrator for the receiving plan to simply check the public database of Form 5500s to make sure that the funds came from and are intended for tax-qualified plans. Until now, administrators of both plans and the employee doing the rollover had several communication and paperwork steps to follow.
“All too often, individuals moving from one job to another find it too difficult to take their retirement plan savings with them to a new employer,” said J. Mark Iwry, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for retirement and health policy, in a statement. “We hope this will take one step out of the process, a particularly cumbersome step.”
The goal is to make retirement savings more portable and to help build assets in tax-qualified retirement plans, Mr. Iwry said. Consolidating accounts could also reduce fees for participants and allow for more coherent investment strategy, Treasury officials believe.
The guidance also reaffirmed that plan administrators can accept rollovers from any individual retirement account, and are no longer bound by so-called conduit IRA requirements that forced accepting plans to confirm that the funds originated with another employer-sponsored plan.
“This looks like it could be very helpful,” said Craig Hoffman, general counsel and director of regulatory affairs for the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, in an interview. “The whole idea is to make it easier for plans to accept rollovers, and we are appreciative that they are trying.”
The guidance is available on the IRS website.