When the IRS announced that it would virtually eliminate the determination letter program for individually designed retirement plans, many practitioners moved through the classic Kübler-Ross five stages of grief (see the picture at the right). Some have yet to finish. In Announcement 2016-32, the IRS requested comments on how these plans can maintain compliance going forward since determination letters are no longer available.
As a general rule, the IRS used to deny plans the ability to incorporate tax code provisions by reference (rather than reciting them wholesale in the plan), except for a very short list available here. The IRS is asking if there are additional provisions that would also be appropriate to incorporate by reference. This would avoid the need to reproduce these provisions wholesale and run the risk of