June 29, 2021

IRS Notice 2021-40 extends until June 30, 2022, the temporary relief allowing audio-video conferencing for spousal consents and other retirement plan elections that ordinarily must take place with a notary public or plan representative physically present. IRS first granted the relief in Notice 2020-42 to facilitate benefit elections that require a witness while social distancing measures for the COVID-19 pandemic are in place. The relief was originally scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2020, but Notice 2021-3 extended the relief until June 30, 2021.

Like the last notice, Notice 2021-40 requests comments on making the relief permanent, which plan sponsor organizations support. Comments are due by Sept. 30. Any permanent changes to the physical presence requirement will go through the regulatory process, with an additional notice and comment period.

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Brian J. Kearney
by Brian J. Kearney

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Geoff Manville
by Geoff Manville

Partner, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

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