Originally published 10 October 2005

In a, recent Alert we reported that the Internal Revenue Service had announced a new five year rolling amendment period and determination letter cycle for qualified retirement plans, but had not yet finalized the details of the five year cycle. Since that Alert was distributed, the Service has issued final guidance on the amendment and determination letter cycle.

The year in which a retirement plan must be amended for tax law changes and should be submitted for a determination letter to the Service is based on the last digit of the employer’s employer identification number ("EIN"). The chart below lists the first five year cycles, the first of which begins February 1, 2006.

The Service’s guidance also includes specific information on how to handle sponsorship changes of the retirement plan, resulting from mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs and similar transactions.

The Service will publish annually, before the start of each cycle, a list of required changes. The retirement plans in the following cycle must be amended to reflect the required changes. According to the Service’s current schedule, the list of required amendments for the cycle beginning February 1, 2006 will be published in November 2005.

If you have specific questions about the five year cycle or about a change in a plan sponsor and how that change affects the amendment and determination letter cycle, please contact one of the attorneys listed above.

Domestic partner benefits under California insured health plans and HMOs

As a reminder, another change that becomes effective for 2006 is the mandatory coverage of domestic partners by insured health plans and HMOs in California.

EIN Last Digit

Cycle Begins 02/01

Cycle Ends 01/31

1 or 6



2 or 7



3 or 8



4 or 9



5 or 0




The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.