The Internal Revenue Service has chosen a company created by the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries and the National Institute of Pension Administrators to run a new examination program.

The American Institute of Retirement Education L.L.C., a joint venture created by ASPPA, Arlington, Va., and NIPA, Chicago, will administer Enrollment Retirement Plan Agent exams.

The U.S. Treasury Department set up the ERPA program through Circular 230, to create a new group of practitioners.

Benefit plan consultants, benefit plan administrators and others who hold the ERPA designation can help plans work with the IRS to handle issues involving compliance, determination letters, and master and prototype plan designs.

ERPA holders also can work with the IRS on issues involving Form 5300 and Form 5500 filings.

The ERPA designation does not give holders the right to represent plans in matters dealing with actuarial forms or schedules, according to ASPPA and NIPA.

IRS advisory committee officials estimate 3,000 to 6,000 individuals may take the ERPA test in the 5 years, ASPPA and NIPA report.

AIRE is getting a 5-year contract. The contract includes a 3-year option and a 2-year option, according to ASPPA and NIPA.

The groups hope to get the ERPA exam program up and running in early 2009.