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Use of Forfeitures in Qualified Retirement Plans: Recent IRS Regulations, Timing, Permitted Uses, Risks, and More

Note: CPE credit is not offered on this program

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
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Conducted on Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will provide employee benefits counsel guidance on the use of forfeitures in qualified retirement plans. The panel will discuss recent IRS proposed regulations, timing of use issues, permitted uses, reducing employer contributions and paying plan expenses, forfeitures in defined benefit plans, risks, and other key issues.


Employer-sponsored retirement plans continue to experience heightened IRS scrutiny of plan forfeitures. Plan sponsors and their counsel seeking to use forfeitures must determine when forfeitures occur and how to use them appropriately in light of recent IRS regulations in addition to other key considerations.

Forfeitures are plan assets derived from non-vested employer contributions that are forfeited from a participant's account when that participant terminates employment and is not fully vested. The plan document typically specifies the timing of the forfeiture, vesting schedules, applicable IRS rules, and in some cases is left at the discretion of the fiduciary. Instead of using employer assets, these forfeited funds can be used to pay for employer contributions or plan expenses. However, plan sponsors face a number of challenges stemming from IRS rules, plan documentation, timing, and other key items that must be considered to mitigate compliance risks.

Recently, the IRS issued proposed regulations in an attempt to streamline plan forfeiture rules focused on the (1) timing for use of defined contribution plan forfeitures, (2) permitted uses of forfeitures for defined contribution plans, and (3) use of forfeitures in defined benefit plans.

Listen as our panel discusses recent IRS proposed regulations, the timing of use issues, permitted uses, reducing employer contributions and paying plan expenses, forfeitures in defined benefit plans, risks, and other key issues.



  1. Overview of forfeitures
  2. Uses of plan forfeitures and challenges
  3. Other key considerations
    1. Plan corrections
    2. Plans with full vesting
    3. Plan termination
  4. Recent IRS regulations and managing IRS audits
  5. Best practices for mitigating forfeiture compliance risks


The panel will discuss these and other key issues:

  • What are the uses of plan forfeitures?
  • What impact do plan forfeitures have on plan corrections, plans with full vesting, and plan termination?
  • How can you manage heightened scrutiny of forfeitures during IRS audits?
  • What is the impact of recent IRS proposed regulations for retirement plan forfeitures?
  • What steps must be taken to mitigate forfeiture compliance risks?


Bogard, Nicole
Nicole D. Bogard

Barnes & Thornburg

Ms. Bogard practices in the firm's Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Department where she collaborates...  |  Read More

Shannon, Lori
Lori L. Shannon

Barnes & Thornburg

Ms. Shannon counsels private and public companies and tax-exempt entities on the design and implementation of...  |  Read More

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