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Guest Article

Deloitte logo

(From the January 4, 2010 issue of Deloitte's Washington Bulletin, a periodic update of legal and regulatory developments relating to Employee Benefits.)

The Regulatory Agendas for 2010

Always of interest are the priority items the key regulatory agencies - the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation - have targeted for completion in the coming months. IRS and DOL both are concerned with lifetime income from defined contribution plans, and with guidance under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. The PBGC is focused on regulations concerning reportable events and statutory hybrid plans, among others.

Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service

On November 24, 2009, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service issued a joint statement targeting a plethora of items for consideration during the remainder of this year (i.e., July 2009 through June 2010). The Priority Guidance Plan includes the following items.

Retirement Plans:

  • Lifetime income from defined contribution plans
  • Definition of readily tradable securities for employee stock ownership plans
  • Final regulations on the diversification requirement of IRC §401(a)(35) as added by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) [Proposed regulations were issued in January 2008]
  • Final regulations on suspension or reduction of safe harbor contributions under IRC §401(k) or (m) [Proposed regulations were issued in May 2009]
  • IRC §403(b) plan terminations
  • Revenue Procedure on IRC §403(b) prototype program
  • Final regulations on hybrid plans under IRC §§411(a)(13) and 411(b)(5), as added by the PPA [Proposed regulations were issued in December 2007]
  • Final regulations on minimum required contributions under IRC §430, as added by the PPA [Proposed regulations were issued in April 2008]
  • Proposed regulations on funding rules for multiemployer plans in endangered or critical status under IRC §432

Executive Compensation, Health and Other Benefits:

  • Applying IRC §105(h) nondiscrimination rules to self-insured retiree medical plans
  • Final regulations regarding cafeteria plans under IRC §125 [Proposed regulations were issued in August 2007]

    • Notice on a sample cafeteria plan
    • Proposed regulations on a change in status
  • Final regulations on income inclusion under IRC §409A [Proposed regulations were issued in December 2008]

    • IRC §409A correction program
    • IRC §409A(b) rules relating to funding
  • Qualified asset accounts under IRC §419A
  • Nonqualified deferred compensation from tax indifferent parties under IRC §457A
  • Calculation of the applicable COBRA premium under IRC §4980B
  • Regulations under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 under IRC §9812

The Department of Labor and the Employee Benefits Security Administration

On December 7, 2009 the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration released its semi-annual agenda, which targets, among other matters:

  • Lifetime Income Options for Participants and Beneficiaries in Retirement Plans
  • Proposed regulation on the definition of "fiduciary" (i.e., to include more persons, such as pension consultants and other plan advisers, under the definition)
  • Health Care Arrangements Established by State and Local Governments for Non-Governmental Employees (i.e., to clarify the type of health care arrangements that state and local governments can establish without creating an "employee welfare benefit plan" under Title I of ERISA)
  • Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (i.e., to implement the changes made by the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008)
  • Annual Funding Notice for Defined Benefit Plans (i.e., to propose a regulation that would require defined benefit pension plan administrators to provide detailed information of the plan's funded status in an annual notice)
  • Periodic Pension Benefit Statements
  • Prohibited Transaction Exemption for Provision of Investment Advice to Participants in Individual Account Plans (i.e., to publish a proposed regulation to implement a statutory exemption for investment advice added to ERISA by the PPA)
  • Fiduciary Requirements for Disclosure in Participant-Directed Individual Account Plans
  • Service Provider Disclosure to Plan Fiduciaries (i.e., to publish a final regulation that will define the specific information that must be disclosed by service providers when they enter into plan service arrangements about the compensation they will receive and possible conflicts of interest that may affect their provision of services)
  • Multiemployer Plan Information Made Available on Request (i.e., to publish a final regulation that would require the administrator of a multiemployer pension plan, on written request, to furnish copies of financial and actuarial reports to any plan participant, beneficiary, employee representative, or any employer that has an obligation to contribute to the plan)
  • Amendments to Civil Penalties Under ERISA §502(c)(8) (i.e., to publish a final regulation that would implement the civil penalty provision by which the Secretary of Labor is granted authority to assess civil penalties not to exceed $1,100 per day against any plan sponsor of a multiemployer plan for certain violations of the funding rules of ERISA §305 for multiemployer plans in endangered or critical status)
  • Prohibited Transaction Exemption for Provision of Investment Advice to Participants in Individual Account Plans

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

In its Agency Rule List for Fall 2009, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation targets, among other matters:

  • Regulations on Reportable Events
  • Regulations on Missing Participants
  • Regulations on Cash Balance Plans, Benefit Determinations and Valuations for Statutory Hybrid Plans
  • Regulations on Phase-In of Guarantee of Unpredictable Contingent Event Benefits
  • Regulations on Liability for Termination of Single Employer Plans, and Treatment of Substantial Cessation of Operations
  • Regulations on Bankruptcy Filing Date Treated as Plan Termination Date for Certain Purposes, Guaranteed Benefits, and Allocation of Plan Assets.

Deloitte logoThe information in this Washington Bulletin is general in nature only and not intended to provide advice or guidance for specific situations.

If you have any questions or need additional information about articles appearing in this or previous versions of Washington Bulletin, please contact: Robert Davis 202.879.3094, Elizabeth Drigotas 202.879.4985, Mary Jones 202.378.5067, Stephen LaGarde 202.879-5608, Bart Massey 202.220.2104, Mark Neilio 202.378.5046, Tom Pevarnik 202.879.5314, Sandra Rolitsky 202.220.2025, Deborah Walker 202.879.4955.

Copyright 2010, Deloitte.

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