Surviving a Retirement Plan Audit: Techniques and Tips for Efficient and Successful Audit Response and Outcomes

October 21, 2020

1 p.m. ET 

Learn the various types of audits for a retirement plan and how to respond to an audit when necessary.

Third-party administrators (TPAs) of retirement plans often market their services by describing them as “turn-key.” Sponsors are therefore led to believe that they can purchase a retirement plan, enroll their eligible employees, and leave the remaining obligations of plan administration to the TPA and asset custodian. The reality is, however, that the tax and fiduciary requirements of retirement plan operation cannot be delegated completely away. When errors arise, it is, inevitably, the plan sponsor that must conduct due diligence, respond to a plan audit, correct any operational or other plan errors, and pay any required sanction or excise tax that is imposed because errors have occurred.

Learn about the various types of audits that are required to be conducted internally or which may be opened in connection with plan administration. You will be given tools that will allow you to efficiently respond to an audit, whether initiated internally or externally. The information will teach those areas in which plan operational failures most often occur and demonstrate how internal controls will prevent the failures or allow them to be corrected before formal submission to the DOL or IRS is required. Finally, you will come away with tools that assist you in response to and management of government agency audits.


Types of Plan Audits and the Goals of Each
  • Internal Audits
  • External or Agency Drive Audits
  • Merger and Acquisition Due Diligence
Identifying When an Independent Financial Audit or Fiduciary Audit Is Needed
  • Regulatory Guidance on Independent Financial Audits
  • Regulatory Guidance on Audits to Fulfill Fiduciary Duties
Most Common Operational and Fiduciary Errors and How They Happen
  • Common Errors Involving Tax Qualification
  • Common Errors Which Result in a Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Prohibited Transactions and Errors Which Give Rise to Excise Tax Liability
Internal Controls and Protocols for Correction When Controls Fail
  • Why Internal Controls Are Needed
  • Responding to a Failure in an Internal Control
  • Types of Failures and Protocols for Correction of Plan Failures (Demographic, Plan Document or Operational)
DOL and IRS Audits: Management of Agency Audits
  • Best Responses to the Howdy Letter
  • Taking Control of the Audit Process
  • Techniques That Get You to the Best Outcome