On November 30, 2022, NAIFA joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry partners in a letter asking the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make permanent the temporary relief from the physical presence requirement for spousal consent that the IRS has provided. As reflected in the attached letter, plans have been using this relief for nearly two years, and NAIFA believes that its use and effectiveness warrant that it be made permanent. If the IRS feels it cannot make this relief permanent before it expires after December 31, 2022, NAIFA urged the IRS to provide at least an additional 12-month extension while the IRS either provides permanent relief on its own or through notice and comment. By doing so, the IRS will avoid disrupting a valued tool many have come to rely on.
For nearly two years, plans and service providers have implemented remote notarization and witnessing using the guidelines laid out in Notice 2020-42. The safeguards in this Notice provide the necessary protections to participants and beneficiaries and no additional procedures are needed. If authorized, plans and service providers will continue to allow its use. However, this would be alongside in-person notarization for those who wish to use it. Allowing remote notarization is just one tool, but not the exclusive tool, for plans to obtain the required spousal consent. How this is obtained would be left to the discretion of a participant and beneficiary.
Originally used to address physical restrictions in place during the COVID-19 outbreak, this IRS rule would continue to allow consumers and businesses to continue operations in a manner that most effectively serves all involved. NAIFA and its coalition partners continue to advocate the importance of standardizing remote notarization and permanent relief for remote witnessing procedures.