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Guest Article

Deloitte logo

(From the November 11, 2002 issue of Deloitte's Washington Bulletin, a periodic update of legal and regulatory developments relating to Employee Benefits. Hyperlinks within the article have been added by BenefitsLink.)

Employee Benefit Plan-Related Deadlines Are Looming

As the end of the year approaches, so too do a number of deadlines and effective dates that may be important to your pension and welfare benefit plans. Many thanks to Melanie Langsett (Atlanta) and John Stokesbury (Parsippany) for bringing the retirement plan deadlines to our attention.

All Plans

Health and Welfare Plans

  • Updated Claims Procedure Rules: The updated claims procedure rules [as amended on July 9, 2001], codified at Labor Reg. Sec. 2560.503-1, apply to claims filed under a group health plan on or after the first day of the first plan year beginning on or after July 1, 2002, but in no event later than January 1, 2003. In other words, calendar year group health plans must begin complying with the updated rules for claims filed on or after January 1, 2003. (The updated claims procedure rules already apply to claims filed under ERISA pension plans and other welfare benefit plans.)

Retirement Plans

  • EGTRRA Good Faith Amendments: Pursuant to IRS Notice 2001-42, tax-qualified pension plans must adopt "good faith" EGTRRA plan amendments no later than the later of (1) the end of the plan year in which the amendments are required to be, or are optionally, put into effect, or (2) the end of the plan's GUST remedial amendment period, in order to take advantage of the EGTRRA remedial amendment period. (In general, this EGTRRA remedial amendment period will not end earlier than the end of the 2005 plan year.) Thus, calendar year plans that put EGTRRA provisions into effect for 2002 must adopt corresponding good faith amendments on or before December 31, 2002. (The GUST remedial amendment period already has ended for most calendar year plans.)
  • Safe Harbor 401(k) Notice Requirement: To satisfy the ADP and ACP testing safe harbors a 401(k) plan must provide written notice to all eligible employees of their rights and obligations under the plan within a reasonable period before the beginning of the plan year. This timing requirement is deemed satisfied if the notice is provided at least 30 days (and no more than 90 days) before the beginning of the plan year. See IRS Notices 98-52 and 2000-3. For calendar year plans, the effective deadline for providing this notice is December 2.
  • GAR Mortality Table: Effective January 1, 2003, defined benefit plans must begin using the "GAR" mortality table for lump sum conversions and for certain section 415(b) purposes. The IRS reportedly is preparing to issue guidance on how these changes affect cash balance plans in the near future, perhaps as early as Tuesday, November 12.

Deloitte logoThe information in this Washington Bulletin is general information only and not intended to provide advice or guidance for specific situations. Contact your Deloitte advisor for information regarding your specific circumstances.

If you have questions or need additional information about this article and you do not have a Deloitte advisor, please contact Martha Priddy Patterson (202.879.5634) or Robert B. Davis (202.879.3094).

Human Capital Advisory Services, Deloitte LLP, 555 12th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20004-1207.

Copyright 2002, Deloitte.

BenefitsLink is an independent national employee benefits information provider, not formally affiliated with the firms and companies who kindly provide much of the content and advertisements published on this Web site, including the article shown above.
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