Retirement Plan Sponsors: December Reminders Part I

LR-PencilIt’s time to take a short break from all the healthcare changes and focus on your December 1st and 15th deadlines for the following participant notices for calendar year retirement plans:

  • Annual Safe Harbor 401(k) Notice – December 1, 2013

The annual safe harbor notice must be provided to all plan participants at least 30 days (and no more than 90 days) before the first day of the plan year. The Notice must include 2014 information about the employer’s safe harbor contributions; certain plan provisions, such as the withdrawal and vesting provisions; and the deferral compensation limits.  The 2014 limits can be found here.

If you wish to preserve the ability to reduce or suspend safe harbor non-elective employer contributions during the 2014 plan year for any reason, the Notice should state that the plan may be amended during the plan year and that such change will take effect at least 30 days after all eligible employees are notified of the reduction or suspension.

Annual Automatic Enrollment Notice – December 1, 2013

If your plan automatically enrolls participants, the Automatic Enrollment Notice must be provided at least 30 days (and no more than 90 days) before the first day of the plan year. The notice must describe the plan enrollment provisions and the amount that will be deducted from participants’ pay automatically and contributed to the plan during 2014. A sample notice can be found at

  • Annual Qualified Default Investment (“QDIA”) Notice – December 1, 2013

The QDIA notice is required if your plan allows participants to direct their own investments and automatically invests in a QDIA to the extent participants fail to provide direction. The Notice is required to provide certain information about the QDIA as well as the participant’s right to transfer out of the QDIA into other plan investments and the procedures for making such transfers. For more information about QDIA notices go to

  • Summary Annual Report (“SAR”) – December 15, 2013

Defined contribution plans are required to provide the SAR. The SAR summarizes specific items from the plan’s Form 5500 filing and should be provided to active participants as well as terminated participants who had account balances under the plan during the 2012 plan year.  The December 15 deadline applies for calendar year plan participants that filed the 2012 Form 5500 under an October 15, 2013 extension.