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IRS Stops Letter Forwarding

In the past, many retirement plan sponsors have relied on the IRS to help them reach former employees who still participate in their plans and plan beneficiaries for whom the sponsors no longer have a current address. But as of August 31, 2012, the IRS has stopped forwarding letters for plan sponsors and administrators. The IRS’s reason: Since the letter-forwarding program began in 1994, numerous alternative missing person locator resources, such as Internet search tools, have become available to plan sponsors and administrators.

What options, besides the Internet, do you have to locate missing participants and beneficiaries? The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers a letter-forwarding program for locating persons who are due “a sizeable amount of money” (and in certain other circumstances). The SSA charges a $35 nonrefundable fee per forwarded letter. It cannot guarantee delivery. The U.S. Department of Labor also recommends using certified mail, checking the records of related plans, if available, checking with a designated plan beneficiary, and using a commercial locator service or credit reporting agency.

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