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Program Assessment


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Internal Revenue Service Retirement Savings Regulatory Program

This program ensures that tax breaks provided to encourage retirement savings are only allowed for retirement plans that follow minimum standards. The law requires that plans follow participation, funding and vesting standards and provide some protection for the surviving spouse of the plan participants.


What This Rating Means


This rating describes a program that needs to set more ambitious goals, achieve better results, improve accountability or strengthen its management practices.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cooperates with the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation to protect retirement investors and to ensure that retirement related tax brakes are used for the intended purposes. Tax breaks to retirement plans encourage savings total more than $100 billion per year.
  • Preliminary data from the program's compliance study show that retirement plans are in compliance with legal standards 80 percent of the time. The IRS is working to improve this level by increasing enforcement efforts and improving targeting. This compliance study is a critical element in this effort because it gives the IRS better information on the sources of non-compliance.
  • IRS has had trouble processing requests for regulatory approval from retirement plans in a timely manner (less than 120 days). It is working to improve its performance in this area by implementing a new staggered schedule for retirement plan renewal requests and improving productivity.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Working to nearly double enforcement efforts by 2011 in order to improve retirement plan compliance to 80 percent.
  • Implement electronic case file development system to improve timeliness and efficiency of the examination process.
  • Implement staggered amendment process and review initial experience to further enhance determination processing efficiency.

Learn More

The content on is developed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Federal agencies.