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Using the Web for Employee Benefits Research: Principal Resources

David Rhett Baker
davebaker@benefitslink.com
Publisher, BenefitsLink.com
Copyright 2015 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. (but you may reprint this document in its entirety, including this statement, for any purpose)

November 12, 2015
Online at http://benefitslink.com/articles/usingweb.html

Please email corrections or suggestions to davebaker@benefitslink.com (click)

United States Code

  1. Cornell Legal Information Institute
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text

  2. Office of Law Revision Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives
    http://uscode.house.gov/

    The site includes "classification tables" showing which U.S. Code sections have been affected by recent legislation.
    http://uscode.house.gov/classification/tables.shtml

  3. Government Printing Office
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionUScode.action?collectionCode=USCODE

  4. Article about using these sources to determine the currently effective U.S. laws:
    http://www.llrx.com/columns/usc.htm (Law Library Resource Xchange, LLC)

Internal Revenue Service

  1. Tax Information for the Benefits Practitioner (a section of the IRS web site)
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Benefits-Practitioner

  2. IRS Regulations

  3. Revenue Rulings, Revenue Procedures, and Announcements

    See also: Internal Revenue Bulletins, where all revenue rulings, revenue procedures and announcements are published: http://www.irs.gov/irb/

    See also: Advance copies of IRS revenue rulings, revenue procedures, announcements and other administrative documents are published for the press and tax professionals by the IRS: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/

  4. IRS Forms and Publications
    http://www.irs.gov/Forms-%26-Pubs

  5. Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memoranda, Chief Counsel Advice
    http://apps.irs.gov/app/picklist/list/writtenDeterminations.html

    Note: these can be sorted by "Uniform Issue List number" (e.g., UIL 423.00-00 is "Employee Stock Purchase Plans").

  6. Federal Interest Rates

    Applicable Federal Rates
    http://www.timevalue.com/products/applicable-federal-rates.aspx (TimeValue Software)

    Weighted Average Interest Rate Table
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Weighted-Average-Interest-Rate-Table

    Funding Yield Curve Segment Rates
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Funding-Yield-Curve-Segment-Rates

    Composite Corporate Bond Rate Table
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Composite-Corporate-Bond-Rate-Table

  7. Examination (Audit) Guidelines from the IRS Manual
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/EP-Examination-Guidelines -- see also: EP Examination Process Guide - Section 5 - Audit Guidelines, which includes links to relevant IRS publications and various guidance applicable to EP examinations.

  8. Employee Plans News (newsletter published by IRS)
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Employee-Plans-News

  9. IRS "Published Guidance" Resource Page
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Published-Guidance

    Hypertext list in chronological order (back to October 2000) of IRS Notices, Revenue Rulings, regulations, Announcements and more, all pertaining to retirement plans. Also has links to interest rate tables (monthly weighted-average interest rates), actuarial tables (section 7520 tables for valuing annuities, life estates, remainders and reversions), the IRS Priority Guidance Plan, and key legislative history affecting retirement plans.

  10. Tax Information for the Benefits Practitioner
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Benefits-Practitioner

    Hypertext links to information on retirement plan forms and publications; plan language resources (LRMs, alert guidelines, cumulative lists, etc.); overview of rules governing 401(k), SEP, SIMPLE IRA, and 403(b), etc.; list of IRS phone forums, benefits conferences, and educational services; the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System; determination, opinion and advisory letters; examinations; retirement tax shelters requiring special disclosure ("abusive tax transactions"); and more.

  11. Listing of Required Modifications (LRM) Language
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Listing-of-Required-Modifications-LRMs

  12. Alert Guidelines, Explanations & Plan Deficiency Paragraphs
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Alert-Guidelines-Explanations-and-Plan-Deficiency-Paragraphs

  13. Cumulative List of Changes in Retirement Plan Qualification Requirements
    https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Cumulative-List-of-Changes-in-Retirement-Plan-Qualification-Requirements

  14. Employee Plans CPE Texts
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/EP-CPE-Texts

    Published by the IRS as the Employee Plans Continuing Professional Education Technical Instruction Program for fiscal years 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2013 and 2014. (2000 is not online; nor are 2005-2012.)

Employee Benefits Security Administration (U.S. Department of Labor)

  1. DOL Regulations

    Final and Temporary DOL Regulations
    http://webapps.dol.gov/FederalRegister/DocumentList.aspx?AgencyId=8&DocumentType=2

    Proposed DOL Regulations
    http://webapps.dol.gov/FederalRegister/DocumentList.aspx?AgencyId=8&DocumentType=1

    Regulations also are published in the Federal Register (see "Federal Register," later in this document).

  2. Advisory Opinions and Information Letters
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/AOs/main.html

  3. Field Assistance Bulletins
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fabmain.html

  4. Class Prohibited Transaction Exemptions
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/classexemptions/main.html (some are not yet online, though)

  5. Individual Prohibited Transaction Exemptions
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/masterindex.html (some are not yet online, though)

  6. Publications and Reports
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/main.html

  7. ERISA Advisory Council reports and statements submitted by witnesses
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/aboutebsa/erisa_advisory_council.html

  8. Search of Form 5500/5500-SF Filings
    https://www.efast.dol.gov/welcome.html (for 2009 and later plan years; see the link entitled "To search for Form 5500/5500-SF filings submitted via the EFAST2 system, use the Form 5500/Form 5500-SF Search.")

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

  1. PBGC Regulations

    Regulations also are published in the Federal Register (see "Federal Register," later in this document).

  2. Technical Updates
    http://www.pbgc.gov/res/other-guidance/tu.html

  3. Current interest rates for use in termination of single-employer defined benefit plans
    http://www.pbgc.gov/prac/interest.html

  4. Forms for plan administrators
    http://www.pbgc.gov/prac/

  5. Publications
    http://www.pbgc.gov/wr/newsletters/publications.html

  6. Pension Search Directory
    http://search.pbgc.gov/mp/

    This online database enables individuals to determine whether PBGC holds benefits for them, under defined benefit plans taken over by PBGC.

Federal Register

  1. Today's Federal Register
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/getfrtoc.action

    BenefitsLink publishes a version that contains hypertext shortcuts to documents from the principal agencies that regulate employee benefit plans.
    http://benefitslink.com/federalregister/today.html

  2. Earlier Issues

    View each issue's table of contents, with clickable links to items
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR

    View particular page by specified number
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/submitcitation.action?publication=FR

  3. Search the Federal Register
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/advanced/advsearchpage.action

Court Opinions

  1. U.S. Supreme Court
    http://www.supremecourt.gov

  2. Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute provides links to U.S. Court of Appeal, U.S. Tax Court, and U.S. Supreme Court cases
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/federal/opinions

  3. Law Library of Congress provides alternate links to U.S. Court of Appeal and U.S. Supreme Court cases
    http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/federal/usjudic.php

  4. District Court Opinions from many of the U.S. district courts
    http://www.uscourts.gov/court_locator.aspx

  5. State Court Web Sites
    http://www.ncsc.org/Information-and-Resources/Browse-by-State/State-Court-Websites.aspx

  6. U.S. Tax Court Opinions
    http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/

  7. Leagle.com
    http://www.leagle.com/

U.S. Government Accountability Office

U.S. Congress

  1. Congressional Record

    Searchable database (select "Congressional Record" in the list in the left-hand column)
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/advanced/advsearchpage.action

    View a particular issue
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=CREC

  2. Thomas Web server provides full text of bills, committee reports and some committee hearings transcripts, at
    http://thomas.loc.gov/

  3. House Committee on Ways and Means
    http://waysandmeans.house.gov

  4. House Committee on Education & the Workforce
    http://edworkforce.house.gov/

  5. Senate Committee on Finance
    http://www.finance.senate.gov/

  6. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
    http://www.help.senate.gov/

  7. Senate Special Committee on Aging
    http://www.aging.senate.gov/

  8. The Joint Committee on Taxation "Blue Books" are excellent descriptions of recently enacted legislation.
    https://www.jct.gov/publications.html?func=select&id=9

    Other Joint Committee publications describe recently introduced bills.
    https://www.jct.gov/publications.html?func=select&id=6

Surveys and Research Reports

  1. Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
    http://crr.bc.edu

  2. Employee Benefit Research Institute
    http://www.ebri.org

  3. International Society of Employee Benefit Specialists (Survey Results)
    http://www.iscebs.org/Resources/Surveys/Pages/Surveys.aspx

  4. National Bureau of Economic Research (working papers, generally available as PDF files for a $5 charge)
    http://www.nber.org/

  5. Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
    http://www.pensionresearchcouncil.org/

  6. Society of Actuaries
    http://www.soa.org

  7. U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
    http://www.gao.gov

 
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