The Internal Revenue Service is expected to issue guidance on how to bring 403(b) plan regulation in line with the 2001 tax law changes. Sources say this will be the first time that the IRS has made sweeping comprehensive changes to these plan rules since 1964.

"The 403(b) [market] has operated without any real formal guidance for dozens of years," said Renee Wilder, executive director of the National Tax-Sheltered Accounts Association, a trade organization for producers who deal with 403(b) plans. "The IRS is in the process of coming out with regulations that will give guidance as to how you should properly administer 403(b) plans. There is some speculation that they would be significant."

She continued, "A lot of times people had to make assumptions. Now we will have some clear direction as to how to appropriately manage retirement funds." An IRS spokesperson did not return calls for comment.

Copyright 2004 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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