The Internal Revenue Service has begun mailing out questionnaires to 401(k) plan sponsors to assess compliance with retirement plan regulations.

The IRS is contacting a random sample of 1,200 401(k) plan sponsors that filed a Form 5500 for the 2007 plan year. Plan sponsors who receive a letter will complete the Questionnaire by accessing a special Web site.

The questionnaire categories are:
•    Demographics
•    401(k) plan participation
•    Employer and employee contributions
•    Top heavy and nondiscrimination rules
•    Distributions and plan loans
•    Other plan operations
•    Automatic contribution arrangements
•    Designated Roth features
•    IRS voluntary compliance programs
•    Plan administration

The information gathered from the questionnaire will ultimately result in a report published by the IRS describing the responses and identifying those areas where additional education, guidance, and outreach is needed; and how the IRS can focus its enforcement efforts to address or avoid non-compliance related to 401(k) plans.

The IRS emphasized that the questionnaire is a compliance check, and not an audit or investigation. However, failure to complete the questionnaire will result in further enforcement action.