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Using the Web for Employee Benefits Research: Principal Resources

David Rhett Baker
davebaker@benefitslink.com
Publisher, BenefitsLink.com
Copyright 2014 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. (but you may reprint this document in its entirety, including this statement, for any purpose)

January 21, 2014
Online at http://benefitslink.com/articles/usingweb.html

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

United States Code

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  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

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  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

    Final and Temporary IRS Regulations
    http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Tax-Code,-Regulations-and-Official-Guidance

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

  3. Revenue Rulings and Revenue Procedures

    Revenue rulings issued during the current year that concern retirement plans, as gathered and published by the IRS' Employee Plans office.
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Revenue-Rulings-3

    Revenue procedures issued during the current year that concern retirement plans, as gathered and published by the IRS' Employee Plans office.
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Revenue-Procedures-3

    Internal Revenue Bulletins (where all revenue rulings and revenue procedures are published)
    http://www.irs.gov/irb/

    Advance copies of IRS revenue rulings, revenue procedures 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

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

    Note: they can be sorted by "Uniform Issue List number" (e.g., UIL 423.00-00 is "Employee Stock Purchase Plans")
  5. 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

  6. Examination (Audit) Guidelines from the IRS Manual
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/EP-Examination-Guidelines

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Listing of Required Modifications (LRM) Language
    http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Listing-of-Required-Modifications-%28LRMs%29

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

  12. 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 and 2013. (2000 is not online.)

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

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  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

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

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  1. PBGC Regulations

    Final and Temporary PBGC Regulations
    http://www.pbgc.gov/res/laws-and-regulations/code-of-federal-regulations.html

    Proposed PBGC Regulations
    http://www.pbgc.gov/prac/pg/other/guidance/pending-proposed-rules.html

    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

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  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

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  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

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  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

mailbox iconClick to send email suggesting improvement to this list of links for 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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