Understanding how to keep your Plan Document
The Plan Sponsor of an ERISA retirement plan is required to keep an up-to-date Plan Document on file in the principal office of the Plan Administrator. If your retirement plan is not subject to ERISA, maintaining a copy of the Plan Document at the principal office of the Plan Administrator for review by a Participant represents best practice.
In the event of an IRS audit of the retirement plan, the Plan Document will be reviewed by the audit team for compliance with all of the applicable Code. Further, the Plan Document will serve as the foundation for the remainder of the audit as the plan "in form" (the Plan Document) needs to match the plan "in function" (the day-to-day operations of the plan).
If your retirement plan is subject to ERISA, language in the SPD instructs Participants to contact the Plan Administrator if they desire to either review or obtain a copy of the Plan Document.
The SPD language reads as or is similar to: "Under ERISA, there are steps that you can take to enforce your rights. For instance, if you request a copy of the Plan Document or the latest Summary Annual Report from the Plan Administrator and do not receive it within 30 days, you may file suit in a Federal court. In such a case, the court may require the Plan Administrator to provide the materials and pay you up to $110 a day until you have the opportunity to review the materials, unless the materials were not sent because of reasons beyond the control of the administrator."
If your retirement plan is not subject to ERISA, language in the SPD instructs Participants to contact the Plan Administrator if they desire to either review or obtain a copy of the Plan Document. However, there are no fines imposed for non-delivery.