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The company I work for was recently sold and the 401K plan was “frozen” except that we can move money within the allowed funds. We are told that the original owner of the company must get a determination letter from the IRS that the Plan is in order. Is this the usual procedure when a company is sold and a plan is closed out? The funds are frozen for 9 to 12 months!
Mcmcgui
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Greetings, Mcmcgui, and welcome. You asked:

The company I work for was recently sold and the 401K plan was “frozen” except that we can move money within the allowed funds. We are told that the original owner of the company must get a determination letter from the IRS that the Plan is in order. Is this the usual procedure when a company is sold and a plan is closed out? The funds are frozen for 9 to 12 months!

That's not at all an unusual event when a company has been acquired by another. Before the old 401(k) assets can be transferred into the new owner's plan, the new owner wants to ensure those assets have in no way been "tainted" with unqualified money. If they have, then the tainted money would disqualify the new employer's plan. Therefore, your old plan must provide the new plan with the qualification letter from the IRS. That letter may indeed take up to a year to obtain.

Regards...Pixy
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This may not be as big a problem as it sounds. It depends on exactly how things are being handled.

Yes, you can't put any more funds into your account at this time.

But, you can move your assets around within the fund, so you won't get stuck in a holding that starts to take a dangerous slide (a la Enron).

If you leave the company, you may or may not be able to roll your assets over into another plan. Since the main concern is to eatablish that all moneys contributed to the plan met the necessary qualifications, withdrawal of the entirety of one participants assets would also totally remove any "tainted" contribution made by that individual.

If you want to retire and start taking distributions, you MIGHT be able to do so. This becomes the most murky area.

You will probably not be able to take out any loans against your plan assets, as you would normally be able to do.

In cases like this, sometimes the new company already has an existing plan, and the old plan is being rolled into the new. Or the new company wants to start a totally new plan so that there would be no interruption in opportunity for the employees. This should allow you to participate in the new company's plan while waiting for the rollover. You would just have to keep track of two accounts during the transition.
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