Employee Benefit Plan Voluntary Correction Programs: Fixing Costly Errors and Preserving Tax Benefits

Leveraging Available IRS and DOL Programs to Proactively Address Plan Mistakes and Minimize Penalties

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Recorded event now available

This webinar will provide employee benefits auditors with best practices and the proper procedures to remedy serious and costly (but all too common) benefit plan errors through available IRS and DOL retirement plan correction programs. The panel will explain the processes and potential pitfalls that practitioners often encounter in correcting plan mistakes and outline how to address these issues based on real-world experiences.


Proficiency in auditing benefit plans requires not only staying on top of the IRS and DOL ever-changing rules and regulations, but a good understanding of available options to correct plan problems or mistakes once they are discovered.

Employee benefit plan auditors and advisers must understand the most prevalent errors to anticipate and avoid, as well as have familiarity with the government’s compliance programs. Our panel will explain how you can help your clients avoid steep penalties by identifying and voluntarily correcting problems with their retirement plans—before an IRS audit or DOL investigation occurs.

Our panel will drill-down on available options to fix plan errors. The panel’s insights will help you evaluate audit results to decide whether and when it is necessary to report issues to the DOL or IRS. You will gain an increased understanding of different types of corrective action under the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) and the DOL’s Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance (DFVC) and Voluntary Fiduciary Correction (VFC) programs. Reporting professionals must also consider moving beyond available programs and customizing a correction method for voluntary compliance.

Listen as our panelists offer insights based on real world experience for remedying common high risk mistakes associated with benefit plan audits. The panel will also outline approaches to correct plan errors before an audit or after a filing.


  1. Overview of benefit plan audits error correction programs
    1. Benefits
    2. Pitfalls
  2. Errors
    1. Common plan operation errors
    2. Other errors
  3. Correction programs
    1. DOL
      1. Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP)
        1. Procedures
        2. Benefits
        3. Pitfalls
      2. Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP)
        1. Procedures
        2. Benefits
        3. Pitfalls
    2. IRS
      1. Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS)
      2. Self-Correction Program (SCP)
      3. Voluntary Correction Program (VCP)
      4. Audit Closing Agreement Program (Audit CAP)
      5. Other
  4. Best practices


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Determining when issues should be reported to the DOL or the IRS—and when reporting doesn’t make sense
  • Selecting the best correction option available through the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS)
  • Effectively making use of the DOL’s DFVC and VFC programs.
  • Anticipating and tackling potential program pitfalls

Learning Objectives

After completing this program, you will be able to:

  • Identify errors in employee benefit plans that may raise a red flag with the IRS
  • Determine the best timing to report potential issues to the IRS
  • Decide whether to report potential issues to the IRS
  • Select the best method for correcting errors through the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System
  • Identify proper procedures to use EPCRS programs, including IRS Self-Correction, Voluntary Correction and Audit Closing Agreement Programs


Eric Ernest, Partner
McConnell & Jones, Houston

Mr. Ernest has more than 20 years of experience in auditing and accounting for a variety of industries and benefit plan sponsors with extensive knowledge in the accounting, auditing, and reporting requirements of employee benefit plans. He is a specialist in benefit plan accounting, auditing, legislative, and regulatory issues to include SEC and DOL rules and regulations and is also well-versed in compliance requirements related to the preparation of IRS Form 5500.

Misty A. Leon, Atty
Wilkins Finston Friedman Law Group, Dallas

Ms. Leon has over 11 years of experience in employee benefits and compensation matters faced by public and private employers and tax-exempt entities. In addition to advising clients on benefit plan design and compliance issues, she frequently assists plan sponsors and plan service providers with voluntary correction of qualified retirement plan errors, including related submissions to the IRS and DOL.

Kelly Pointer, Counsel
Seyfarth Shaw, Houston

Ms. Pointer provide clients with technical and practical advice on the administration of all types of employee benefit plans, most typically qualified retirement and 403(b) plans, and health and welfare plans. Her experience includes matters related to design and implementation, maintenance and ongoing administration, ERISA and tax code compliance, reporting and disclosure requirements, and plan termination. Ms. Pointer assists clients with compliance issues, preparing submissions and negotiating with the IRS and DOL through their voluntary correction programs.


Recorded Event

Includes full event recording plus handouts.

Note: Self-study CPE and EA credits are not offered on recorded events.

Recorded Webinar Download $147.00

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Recorded Audio Download (MP3) $147.00

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Strafford is an IRS-approved continuing education provider offering certified courses for Enrolled Agents (EA) and Tax Return Preparers (RTRP).

Program Materials

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Program Materials

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Customer Reviews

I loved the tools and handouts. Every CPE class should offer these kind of tools.

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Sample and Bailey

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Joanna Johnston

Savas Greene & Company

I liked the concentration on specific issues and examples.

Edita Rimalovsky

Komisar Brady & Co.

I liked the fact that there was more than one person presenting the material. It's nice to hear multiple perspectives.

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Cover & Rossiter

I appreciated the flow of the information offered and the ease at which I could follow the handouts.

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WISS & Company

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Accounting Advisory Board

Bill Allen


Making Auditors Proficient

Alicia Dias

Audit Manager


Richard H. Gesseck



Neil Goldenberg

CFO Advisor


Greg Goller

Partner-in-Charge, Non-Profit Tax Practice

Grant Thornton

Lynford Graham, CPA

Professor of Accounting

Bentley University

Joe Kristan


Roth & Co. CPAs

Steven J. Luber

Senior Manager


Gary O'Krent


Bluestein O'Krent & Bluestein

Curtis Reinhart


Ernst & Young

Celia Roady

Tax Partner

Morgan Lewis

Charles (Chip) Schweiger


PKF Texas

Chris Stanz

Principal, Non-Profit and Government Practice


Alan Strand


Strand and Associates

Danielle Thompson

Director of Business Development

Insight Accounting Group

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