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Navigating a DOL Plan Audit

Navigating a DOL Plan Audit

In 2013 the DOL closed 3,677 retirement plan audit investigations. Violations were found in 75% of these audits including 88 criminal indictments yielding 77 guilty pleas or convictions. The tab for fines and plan reimbursements was $1.7 Billion. That is an average of $618,000 per violation.

We also know that audit activity was up significantly in 2013 and this trend is expected to continue in 2014 and the DOL continues to beef up its audit staff.

Here are some tips to take the heat off:

  • Cooperate fully. Once your plan is identified for an audit, there will be an audit.
  • Call in your team. Immediately tell your advisor, recordkeeper and other service providers there is an audit, and that full cooperation is expected. Let each team member know their role.
  • Provide all information requested by the DOL on a timely basis.
  • A single point of contact should share the information.
  • Conduct your own audit while the DOL is in their discovery phase. Fix what’s broken.


For more details on surviving a plan audit see this article The Bottom Line: Feeling the Heat over at Plan Sponsor Magazine.