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403(b) Regulation Resources for Non-Qualified Church-Controlled Organizations

The retirement plan your organization provides to your ministers and staff is a valuable benefit to them and for your organization as it seeks to retain talented, energetic staff. GuideStone is ready to help your organization understand and comply with the new regulations so that your organization and retirement plan participants avoid adverse tax consequences.

The IRS published new regulations that fully take effect on Jan. 1, 2009.  These regulations — which impact all 403(b) plans, including church plans — are not difficult to implement if your organization's retirement plan is with GuideStone. In fact, to become fully compliant, many organizations will need to invest less than an hour. Below, you will find explanations of the regulations that impact your organization along with resources that will help you move toward compliance.

Written plan document requirement

Employers that sponsor a 403(b)(9) plan must maintain written documents that describe all material plan provisions. GuideStone provides your organization with plan documentation. However, to meet the new IRS guidelines, we will be sending out new plan documents in the summer of 2008.

Information sharing requirement

Participants, employers and plan providers have more steps to complete if your organization makes contributions to more than one investment provider or allows plan participants to transfer money from one 403(b) investment provider to another while in-service. There are new requirements for sharing information:

  • If you allow contributions to be made to multiple investment providers, you may need to share information with the providers.
  • If you allow participants to move their accounts from one investment provider to another, you may need a written Information Sharing Agreement.
  • If you have multiple investment providers, identify and list all investment providers approved for ongoing contributions and investment exchanges and those approved for contract exchanges only.

GuideStone makes compliance easy!

  • Complete, save, print and retain a copy of the Authorized Provider List  to document all providers and vendors.
  • If you make contributions to GuideStone as a sole retirement plan provider and do not permit your participants to move money to other investment providers, an Information Sharing Agreement between investment providers will not be needed. Your employees can still move money from other retirement plans or IRAs tax-free through a direct rollover.

Annual notice of right to participate

Under the final regulations, an employer must now demonstrate that employees are provided  with an annual "effective opportunity" to make elective deferrals.  Some of the criteria considered in determining whether employees have an effective opportunity are:

  • Notice of the availability to make elective deferrals,
  • The period of time during which an elective deferrral election may be made, and
  • Whether any other rights or benefits are conditioned on the employee's making the elective deferrals.
  • GuideStone provides sample language for an effective opportunity notice.

GuideStone Financial Resources has been dedicated to enhancing the financial security of our plan participants for 90 years. Our employees are highly experienced with church retirement plans and stand ready to help you. Please email us or call 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433) for additional information.

Additional resources:

Summary of the Final Regulations
Frequently Asked Questions about the 403(b) Regulations
Articles about the 403(b) Regulations


This information should not be considered tax or legal advice. GuideStone stands ready to assist your organization as you work with your legal and tax advisers by providing resource information that you and your adviser may find beneficial.