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403(b) Regulation Resources for Southern Baptist Churches and Associations

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

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

Written plan document requirement
Churches that sponsor a 403(b)(9) plan must maintain written documents that describe all material plan provisions. GuideStone provides general plan documentation for the Church Retirement Plan. However, since each church in this plan has flexibility related to certain plan provisions, your church must develop and maintain additional written rules and procedures that address the following:

  • What compensation will be considered for purposes of contributions to the plan?
  • Which employees are eligible to participate in the retirement plan?
  • What contributions will the employer/church make on behalf of employees?

GuideStone makes compliance easy!

Step 1 — Annually review your copy of the 403(b)(9) Retirement Plan for Southern Baptist Churches.
Step 2 — Complete, save, print and retain a copy of the Eligibility and Contribution Schedule to document the additional written rules and procedures that must be addressed.

Information sharing requirement
Participants, employers and plan providers have more steps to complete if your church makes contributions to more than one investment provider or allows plan participants to move 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, you will need to identify and list all investment providers approved for ongoing contributions and those approved for contract exchanges only.
  • If you make contributions to GuideStone as a sole 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.

GuideStone Financial Resources has been dedicated to enhancing the financial security of our plan participants for more than 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:
403(b) Regulations for Southern Baptist Churches (presentation)
Summary of the Final Regulations
Frequently Asked Questions about the 403(b) Regulations
Articles about the 403(b) Regulations
Advantages of 403(b) Retirement Plan for Southern Baptist Churches





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.