The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that it has ended its letter forwarding program with respect to plan sponsors and plan administrators of qualified retirement plans who are attempting to locate missing participants and beneficiaries. Requests postmarked before August 31, 2012 will continue to be honored.
In 1994, the IRS established the letter forwarding program to forward letters for humane purposes when there is no other way to convey the applicable information to the missing individual. Since that time, many alternative missing person locator resources have become available. Therefore, while the IRS will continue the program for limited humane purposes that do not merely provide a financial benefit, the program has been ended with respect to missing participants in qualified retirement plans.
Employers contemplating correction programs or plan terminations that could require locating missing participants should be aware of this change.