Online Notarization for Spousal Consents is Here to Stay

The future of spousal consents for plan distributions is online — and just a few clicks away.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued a new set of proposed regulations that would permanently waive the pre-existing requirement that spousal consents for plan distributions to be witnessed in-person by a notary or plan representative. Here's everything you need to know about how we got here, what it means for you and your business, and how you can partner with Notarize for retirement planning like never before.

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$97 – $103
in cost-savings on average per transaction completed online vs. in-person
21 days
saved on average by completing the notarization process online
< 6 minutes
spent on average to complete a transaction with Notarize

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>2 years
behind-the-scenes advocacy in support of making the IRS relief permanent, including meetings with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the IRS, Members of Congress and staffers, and additional private and public sector stakeholders.
comments submitted to the IRS in favor of making the relief permanent by Notarize and other organizations including, the SPARK Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Benefits Council, and others.
specialized coalition formed by Notarize to encourage IRS action in favor of making this relief permanent.
organizations/companies who joined Notarize in co-signing a coalition letter urging the IRS to make this relief permanent.

March 2020

Following an emergency order issued by the President in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS issued Notice 2020-42 to provide relief from the in-person requirements for spousal consent waivers, allowing consumers to complete spousal consent forms online with online notarization.

June 2020

The IRS released Notice 2021-03 extending the temporary relief from the requirement through June 30, 2021.

May 2021

The IRS released Notice 2021-40 extending the temporary relief through June 30, 2021.

May 2022

The IRS released Notice 2022-27 extending the temporary relief through June 30, 2022.

December 2022

The IRS issues a notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of public hearing in the Federal Register that would permit spousal consents for plan distributions to be witnessed by a notary or plan representative remotely online.

State of Play

(As of January 5, 2022)

TL;DR: The new proposed regulations and any comments that get submitted pertaining to them will be discussed in a public hearing in April. Pending there is no need for additional comment or reply periods, the final rule will be reviewed by the President of the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and made official once published in the Federal Register.
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Now that the IRS has published the notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, the official period during which the general public can submit written or electronic comments for consideration is in effect until March 30th, 2023, or 90-days after the date of publication. Following the comment period, the proposed new regulations will be taken up in public hearing in April of 2023, after which the agency (in this case, the IRS) can decide in favor or against a second period for comments and/or a reply period, neither of which is required by law. Once it has been concluded that the proposed solutions will help accomplish the goals or solve the problems identified through the process to date, a final review by the President of the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will be completed before the final rule is made official through publication in the Federal Register.

Businesses don’t just run 9-5 anymore — small business owners and consumers need to get things done on their own time, in ways most convenient to them. Now with FedEx Office Online Notary with Notarize, commissioned notaries are available 24/7, 365 days a year. That’s the pace of doing business today.”
Jeff Heyman
Vice President of Product Development and eCommerce for FedEx Office

Frequently Asked Questions

What is online notarization?
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What kinds of retirement plans are covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)?
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Where are online notarizations valid and enforceable?
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Can two or more signers get their signatures notarized in a single meeting?
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How does Notarize ensure the security and privacy of personal information on notarized documents?
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More FAQs
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Ready to begin notarizing spousal consent documents online?