Discuss any questions or concerns regarding OCA's General Letter Policy with your supervisor or team leader.

A case file must be established for each case opened by DAS and for certain case files opened by DRC (see below). It is imperative that each case file be complete and contains all correspondence and documents that sufficiently document all decisions and actions taken by OCA. The order of these documents has taken on a new level of importance as they are often reviewed by others and the Office of Inspector General. The development of the archival scanning of OCA case files further demands that case files be properly prepared and maintained. Should a case file be incomplete, it may be returned to the analyst for correction.

There should be no post-it notes inside the case file. All notes should be typed or legibly written on a sheet of paper and placed inside the case file.

OCA uses different colored folders for different types of cases. The divider results in the folder consisting of four sections. All documents in each section are to be filed in chronological order, separated by an appropriate color title sheet. Pre-printed color title sheets can be found in the file room. If there is no pre-printed color title sheet, a color title sheet must be prepared and appropriately titled in a font no smaller than 50 point.

Cases assigned to DAS must be kept in a yellow folder.

For DRC, case files are bound in colored folders only upon the issuance of the Notice of Intent to Assess a Penalty. Prior to that, DRC case information is kept together in a binder or with binder clips. Each case assigned to DRC must be kept in the appropriate color case folder as indicated below:

Folder Colors for DRC Cases
Deficient Case Grey
Late Filer Blue
Non Filer Red
Blackout Notice Black
502(c)6 Green

Each case file must contain a case file label. The label must contain the case number, the plan name, and folder number. If there is more than one file for the case, any supplemental files must also contain a case file label. For example:

ABC Company 401(k) Pension Plan
Folder 1 of 3

The contents of each case file should be constructed as follows:

First Section (left side): All written external correspondence generated by OCA is to be kept in this section. This includes the following:

  • Inquiry Letters (e.g. requests for Form 5500, workpapers, documents, etc.)(see note)
  • Correspondence With IQPAs (e.g. Statement of Preliminary Findings)(see note)
  • Notice of Rejection(see note)
  • Notice of Intent to Assess a Penalty(see note)
  • Notice Requesting Penalty of Perjury Statement(see note)
  • Notice of Determination(see note)
  • Closing Letters or Withdrawal Letters (not certified)
  • Notice of Satisfactory Filing (not certified)
  • AICPA/State Board of Accountancy Referrals (not certified)
  • Closing Memo
  • If necessary – Final Order Checklist

Note: These notices/letters constitute official enforcement actions and must be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested (or via overnight mail if necessary). The certified receipt and returned receipt green card must be stapled to the lower right corner of page one of the corresponding notice/letter. If OCA does not receive a returned receipt green card, the analyst should track and confirm receipt of the notice/letter via the U.S. Postal Service Website at www.usps.com. If received, a copy of the confirmation should be printed and placed behind the corresponding notice/letter in the case file. If receipt of the notice/letter cannot be obtained, the analyst should consult with the Division Chief or Team Leader for the appropriate follow-up action.

If the notice/letter is sent via overnight mail, the analyst shall obtain a confirmation of receipt which must be placed behind the corresponding notice/letter in the case file. Be aware that the response time period may be affected by using overnight delivery.

The "primary" method of delivery for OCA notices should be via the U.S. Postal Service using certified mail, return receipt green card. In certain circumstances, an alternative method of delivery may be required if the primary method of delivery is unsuccessful. Alternative methods of delivery shall be made on a case-by-case basis. For certain DAS case work (i.e., workpaper reviews), FedEx is permitted for inquiry letters and for correspondence with IQPAs.

Second Section (right side): All internal administrative documents generated by OCA are to be kept in this section. Documents in this section shall be separated by the appropriate colored title sheet. Documents to be included in this section are:

  • General memorandum
  • Case Transmittal Forms (OCATS data tracking form)
  • Telephone logs (all telephone write-ups should be kept together, in chronological order)
  • Memoranda to or from other EBSA offices
  • Memoranda to or from other governmental agencies
  • Penalty calculations
  • Reasonable cause analysis
  • Reasonable Cause Committee Chart
  • Collection Memo
  • ALJ and Federal Court Documents
  • DRC Case Notes (For DRC this includes both telephone memorandum and file notes. It is not necessary to place each case note on a separate page. However, all phone notes must contain the name and telephone number of the person, their position/relationship to the plan, and the date and time in addition to notes on the conversation. All notes must be either typed or written legibly in pen. There is a preferred format for the case notes on the L drive.)

Third Section (left side): The third section includes documents supporting the case review. Documents in this section shall be separated by the appropriate colored title sheet. Documents to be included in this section are:

  • DRC Review Checklists (e.g. Form 5500, Late-filer, Blackout, etc.)
  • IQPA report review checklist
  • Documentation of entrance/exit conference with IQPA
  • DAS Summary memorandums of workpaper review (on-site reviews, firm reviews, desk reviews, preliminary findings memo, response to preliminary findings memo)
  • DAS Workpaper review checklists and guides
  • Other miscellaneous documents or analysis performed as part of the casework.

Fourth Section (right side): The fourth section includes the original Form 5500 filing and any responses to notices/letters issued by OCA. Documents in this section shall be separated by the appropriate colored title sheet. Documents to be included in this section are:

  • Original Form 5500 Annual Report
  • Response(s) to Inquiry Letter
  • Response(s) to Notice of Rejection
  • Response(s) to Notice of Intent to Assess a Penalty
  • Response(s) to Notice Requesting Penalty of Perjury Statement
  • Response(s) to Notice of Determination
  • IQPA response to Statement of Preliminary Findings
  • Any other information provided by the filer

Supplemental Case Files ("Pendaflex" files): Supplemental case file(s) should be maintained for bulky documents submitted in response to a notice/letter. For example, copies of audit workpapers. The supplemental case file(s) must contain a case file label (see above). In addition, documents contained within the supplemental case file(s) should be appropriately identified.

It is the analyst's responsibility to ensure the case file is maintained in the correct order and reflects the work performed.