A ministry writes: "Having received notification from the investment company that we must comply with the new IRS regulations for our employer-sponsored 403(b) plan, we must write the plan. Do you have any advice on how to get the plan written easily?"
Unfortunately, I don't have an easy answer for this one. The churches and Christian organizations that I've worked with have relied on the support provided by financial services firms (e.g., TIAA-CREF), some of which are getting out of the 403(b) market. My recommendation is that churches and Christian organizations with 403(b) plans work with the investment firm receiving the employees' elective deferrals and employer's matching contributions to assure that the January 1, 2009, deadline for establishing written 403(b) plans is met. If your investment company (yes, the one that's been charging your employees commissions on their monthly contributions) is placing the onus on your ministry for the written plan and unable to assist you, then I would guess that your organization has been operating with scant plan documents already. It may be time to change investment firms.