Over the course of this week, each member of the Atlanta Firefighter’s Pension Fund should receive a letter at home from the Pension Fund via ASI, our third party administrators. Every five years the Fire Pension Fund has to apply for final Determination with the IRS. The application is submitted to show the IRS that the Fire Pension Plan is in compliance with IRS code. The letters are sent out as part of the notification process governed by the IRS. No action is needed by each member at this time, but members do have the right to ask for a copy the application documents once they are sent off to the IRS. To get a copy, members will have to follow the instructions on the letter they received.
Below are some frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Determination application process:
1. If they are not going to be affected, why did we send the letters out?
IMPORTANT: this application for a Determination Letter is NOT related to any new or proposed changes to any of the City’s pension plans. Each pension plan must submit an application for a Determination Letter every five years. The purpose of this Determination Letter process is to ensure that the pension plans continue to conform to the IRS code which gets changed and updated by the IRS from time to time. Frequently, these updates have no effect on the content of our plans, but when they do we are required to update our plans to match the changes. This Determination Letter process gives us the opportunity to show the IRS how we have updated our plans and gives the IRS an opportunity to let us know if there are additional changes that we need to make to stay in compliance with their regulations. The IRS requires each plan to notify all plan participants when the Determination Letter application is being submitted in case any participant or group of participants wants to submit their own comments about the pension plans for consideration.
2. If this is application does not meet the qualifications can the pension be dissolved?
NO. If the IRS determines that we need to make changes to our pension plans to match up with the requirements of the IRS code we will have the opportunity to make those changes.
3. Is there anything that they need to do?
Plan participants are not required to do anything as part of the Determination Letter application process. However, as outlined in the letter they received, they have the right to make comments to the IRS about the plan if they wish.
4. Several participants went to City Hall yesterday asking for a copy of the application and other documents dealing with the applications. (This is offered on last page under 13. Additional Information) and were told they were not aware of what they were asking for.
Those documents are still being compiled at this time. The Determination Letter application will be filed with the IRS on January 31, 2011. The application and all of the related documents will be available on February 1, 2011.