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The Impact of the SECURE Act on Tax Qualified Retirement Plans

On December 20, President Trump signed into law the “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019,”[1] known and referred to colloquially as the “SECURE Act.” The law’s stated purpose, among other things, is to increase the coverage of American workers in employer-sponsored savings arrangements. The new law generally affects retirement plans and programs that include employer-sponsored and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), among others. In this recently published issue of the Bloomberg Tax, Tax Management Memorandum, we explore the impact of the new law on employer-sponsored plans.

Many of the SECURE Act’s provisions that impact employer-sponsored plans took effect on January 1, 2020. The new law provides for an extended remedial amendment period, however—i.e., the period of time during which plans will need to be amended to comply. Most private sector plans will not need to be amended to come into compliance until the last day of the first plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2022 at the earliest.

It will fall principally on the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue interpretive guidance under the SECURE Act fleshing out the law’s impact on plan design and administration. There is a good deal of work to be done, and plan amendment deadlines seem to have a way of creeping up quickly. In future posts, we will examine and explain developments that plan sponsors need to be aware of to ensure timely and accurate compliance with the SECURE Act.


[1] The Act is a part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, H.R. 1865, Pub. L. No. 116-94.

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