Physician's Money Digest, August15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 15

The nation's 750,000 small andmid-size businesses (which includesmany physicians' practices) that useoff-the-shelf retirement plan documentsmust update their plans bySeptember 30, 2003. According toan IRS report, businesses must formallyadopt updates to maintain thetax benefits associated with theirretirement plans.

The deadline is a result of rulesthat apply to so-called Master &Prototype (M&P) plans and VolumeSubmitter plans. These off-the-shelfretirement plans are IRS-approvedtemplates intended to standardizeand simplify the complex employeeplan arena. Employers who providesuch retirement plans are typicallysmall to mid-size businesses, includingself-employed persons.

M&P plans are off-the-shelf documentsthat employers obtain fromsponsors such as banks, brokers, insurancecompanies, lawyers, or consultants.Volume Submitter plans aremore customized documents, usuallyobtained from lawyers or consultants.

Both businesses and their employeesenjoy tax benefits from retirementplans that are in compliancewith the law. Failure to act by thedeadline could cost an employer'sretirement plan its tax-favored status.

Small-business employers shouldconsult with the sponsor of theirM&P or Volume Submitter plan documentand with their pension planadvisor or attorney today. Manyemployers will only need to make surethey adopt their plan amendments bySeptember 30. But others also have tofile the amendments to keep theirplans tax-qualified. For more information,call 877-829-5500.