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Benefits in the News > By Subject >

Reporting requirements (to gov't agencies)


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[Opinion] Text of ASPPA Comment Letter to IRS on Form 5500 (Including Form 5500-SUP) (PDF)
"ASPPA recommends that the IRS delay by at least one year the implementation of the proposed changes and additional data collection for all plans to allow the time needed by service providers to accommodate the extensive data collection, programming, and other systems changes that will be required.... ASPPA recommends that the IRS simplify the line 6 inquiries relating to plan documents to ensure that filers prepare fact specific information in a uniform manner.... ASPPA recommends that the IRS provide more specific information regarding which filers are required to provide the SUP information electronically and the application of certain penalties and late filing remedies." (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA])
Retirement Plan Form 5500 Is Done; Now What About Your Welfare Benefit Plan?
"With the advent of the required U.S. Department of Labor's EFAST2 electronic filing of the Form 5500 return, the DOL has a comprehensive database to compile information on companies' retirement plans, an exercise that the DOL is pursuing vigorously. DOL's focus is on scrutinizing companies that file a Form 5500 for a large retirement plan that requires a financial statement audit (generally those with more than 100 participants) to determine whether the company is also filing a Form(s) 5500 for its welfare benefits." (EisnerAmper)
Final EPCU Report: Form 1099R-72(t) Project
"The majority of cases presented a valid exception to the 10% additional tax on early distributions or had timely rolled over the distribution. However, a substantial number of cases improperly noted an 'Other' exception to the 10% additional tax based on financial hardship alone resulting in amended return filings or referrals for additional review." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Final EPCU Report: One-Participant Defined Benefit Plan Schedule SB Project
"More than 96% of sponsors responding had Schedules SB timely prepared and had retained them as required. Approximately 1% involved minor errors and we were unable to contact another 1%. Fewer than 2% warranted further review beyond the project." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Final EPCU Report: Final Form 5500 Return with Assets Project
"Over 90% of the responses showed that plan sponsors made errors when filing their Form 5500, mostly by: Checking the box indicating the return was 'the final return/report' when all assets were not distributed by the end of the plan year, or Not showing zero end of year assets when they had actually distributed all plan assets by the end of the plan year. For most of the cases, the EPCU was able to obtain compliance at various levels including securing: Delinquent returns (those due but not filed), and Amended returns." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
2015 Compliance Checklist for ERISA-Governed Retirement Plans (PDF)
44 pages. "The Compliance Checklist incorporates defined benefit (DB), defined contribution (DC) and ERISA 403(b) requirements and provides information on the materials that you will need to file, filing due dates and agencies to which the filings should be made." (Prudential)
2015 Compliance Checklist for Non-ERISA Retirement Plans (PDF)
20 pages. "The Compliance Checklist incorporates requirements for governmental and nonelecting church plans, non-ERISA 403(b) plans, 457 plans, and nonqualified executive benefit plans, and provides information on the materials that you will need to file, filing due dates, and agencies to which the filings should be made." (Prudential)
IRS Releases 2014 Form 8955-SSA and Instructions with Electronic Filing Requirement for Certain Filers
"The 2014 Form 8955-SSA is unchanged from the 2013 version, but the instructions have been updated to reflect that certain filers must now file Form 8955-SSA electronically through the IRS Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system.... The IRS maintains a Form 8955-SSA Resources webpage with additional information, including instructions for using the FIRE system and a list of approved software vendors for preparing Form 8955-SSA for electronic filing." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
[Guidance Overview] Advance Copies of 2014 Form 5500 Include Various Changes (PDF)
"The following changes apply to both the Form 5500 and Form 5500: [1] Signature and date ... [2] Active participant information ... [3] Multiple employer plan information ... The following changes apply only to Form 5500: [1] Schedule H -- Financial Information ... [2] Schedule MB -- Multiemployer Defined Benefit Plan and Certain Money Purchase Plan Actuarial Information ... [3] Schedule SB -- Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Information." (Prudential)
Key Administrative Dates and Deadlines in 2015 for Calendar-Year Multiemployer DB Plans (PDF)
Detailed chart of notice and reporting requirements and deadlines. (Milliman)
Errors on Your Form 5500 Can Lead to an IRS Audit
"Read each item and then read the instructions for that line. Don't assume you know what information is being requested. Do not copy information from the prior year's 5500 without first reviewing each item carefully to ensure you didn't put information in the wrong box, leave an entry blank that should have information, or use an incorrect code. If you rely on a third party to prepare the 5500, carefully review it before submitting it. Consult with a benefits professional to institute sufficient administrative procedures to prevent mistakes on the 5500 and other informational returns." (Benefits Bryan Cave)
[Guidance Overview] MEWA Reminder: Annual Form M-1 Filings Due March 1
"The Form M-1 requirement applies regardless of whether your plan is insured [or] self-insured, and even applies to sponsors who qualify as a 'bona-fide group or association of employers' for purposes of ERISA. The same March 1 deadline applies, regardless of the actual MEWA plan year.... Since March 1, 2015 is a Sunday, the 2014 Form M-1 must be filed by the next business day, Monday, March 2, 2015....The Form M-1 must be filed electronically using the Form M-1 Online Filing System[.]" (McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP)
Proposed Changes to Form 5500 Series Could Complicate Compliance in 2015
"[If] the proposed changes to the 2015 Form 5500 are accepted, the annual reporting process will require more concentrated effort for gathering data to answer the form's questions.... Given the disparity between the draft form and related instructions, we can expect to see revised drafts of one or both documents. For example ... Line 9 of the Form 5500-SUP requests the amount of contributions deducted and whether the contributions exceeded the deductible limit. The instructions for Line 9, however, relate to the amount of distributions made under certain circumstances. IRS expects that the questions on the Form 5500-SUP will be added to the 2015 Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF and related schedules." (ERISAdiagnostics, via Thompson HR Compliance Expert)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Revises Procedures for Determination Letter Processing for 2015
"The announcement sends two important messages to plan sponsors and their advisors. First, be sure each determination letter filing is complete and satisfies all procedural requirements in Revenue Procedure 2015-6. Second, file applications early and respond promptly to any IRS requests -- both to prevent application files from being closed and, more importantly, to avoid running out the clock on the remedial amendment cycle." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
[Official Guidance] Text of Instructions for 2014 IRS Form 5500-EZ: Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan (PDF)
"What's New[:] ... [1] A Form 5500-SF, Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan, may be filed electronically for one-participant plans and certain foreign plans instead of Form 5500-EZ regardless of whether or not the plan covered more than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year. [2] A new check box has been added to Form 5500-SF, Part I, A, for certain foreign plans that are submitting Form 5500-SF in place of Form 5500-EZ (on paper) to satisfy the annual return/report filing obligations under the Code." [Also online: 2014 Form 5500-EZ] (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Rev. Proc. 2015-6: Procedures for Determination Letter Requests; Interested Party Notice and Comment
"This revenue procedure is a general update of Rev. Proc. 2014-6, 2014-1 I.R.B 198, which contains the Service's general procedures for employee plans determination letter requests.... In addition to minor revisions, such as updating references, [changes include]: ... Section 3.02 has been modified to reflect changes related to the transfer of technical work from the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (TE/GE) to the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Tax Exempt and Government Entities); ... Section 6.04 has been modified by adding a summary of the new procedures for processing incomplete applications; ... Section 6.05 has been modified to reflect new submission requirements; ... Section 6.08 has been modified to clarify the submission requirements for applications involving merged plans; ... Section 6.13 has been modified to reflect the new procedures for processing incomplete applications; ... Section 6.15 has been modified by changing the address for determination letter requests; ... [Various sections] have been modified to update the application procedures for determination letter requests; ... [and more]." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Guidance Overview] DOL Releases Form 5500 and Form M-1 for 2014 Plan Year
"All welfare plan filers must answer Question 11a, which asks whether the plan was subject to the Form M-1 filing requirement during the plan year. (For 2013, in contrast, plans were required to attach a statement regarding Form M-1 compliance.)... Form 5500 filers must now provide the total number of active participants at the beginning of the plan year.... No specific definition is provided for welfare plans, although presumably it means a current employee covered by the plan in question.... Multiple employer plans (both welfare and pension, and whether filing Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF) must include an attachment identifying participating employers and providing an estimate of each participating employer's contributions during the year." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
[Guidance Overview] 2015 Reporting and Disclosure Calendar for Single-Employer Benefit Plans (PDF)
27 pages. Detailed list of compliance requirements and dates; covers DOL, HHS and IRS requirements for welfare plans as well as retirement plans. Interactive version is also available. (Sibson Consulting)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Employee Plans News 2014-23, December 16, 2014 (PDF)
Topics include: [1] Certain funding elections for Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Act and eligible charity plans due December 31 2014; and [2] Informational Forms 5500 and 5500-SF, and final Form M-1. (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Official Guidance] Advance Copies of 2014 Form 5500 and 5500-SF, Final Copy of 2014 Form M-1 Released (PDF)
"[EBSA, the IRS, and the PBGC] today released advance informational copies of the 2014 Form 5500 annual return/report and related instructions. These advance copies are for informational purposes only and cannot be used to file an annual return/report. Modifications to Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF, and their schedules and instructions for plan year 2014 are described under 'Changes to Note' in the 2014 instructions. Examples of these changes include ... Form 5500-SF filers now must provide the number of participants that terminated employment during the plan year with accrued benefits that were not fully vested.... Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF now require multiple-employer pension plans and multiple-employer welfare plans to include an attachment that generally identifies each participating employer, and includes a good faith estimate of each employer's percentage of the total contributions during the year.... New Line 4f [of Schedule MB] requires plans in critical status to indicate the plan year in which a plan is projected to emerge from critical status or, if the rehabilitation plan is based on forestalling possible insolvency, the plan year in which insolvency is expected.... Line 3 [of Schedule SB] has been modified so that the funding target is reported separately for each type of participant (active, retired, or terminated vested). Line 11b [of Schedule SB] has been split into two parts: the calculation based on the prior year's effective interest rate, and the calculation based on the prior year's actual return.... Informational copies of the forms, schedules and instructions are available online at www.dol.gov/ebsa/5500main.html.... Today EBSA also announced the availability of the 2014 Form M-1 annual report for multiple employer welfare arrangements. The 2014 form and instructions were updated with minor clarifications, and there are no substantive changes from the previous year's form." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor)
[Guidance Overview] Details on the ACA Employer Reporting Requirements (PDF)
12 pages. "The forms and instructions are drafts intended for reporting in 2015 for coverage offered in 2014. Reporting of coverage is voluntary for 2014. The forms will likely change before employers are required to submit them in 2016, for coverage offered in the 2015 calendar year. Employers will have to report on full-time employees for the entire 2015 calendar year. Employers should begin thinking about how they will collect the required data." (McGraw Wentworth)
2015 Reporting and Disclosure Requirements: Ongoing Qualified Calendar-Year Plans (PDF)
Detailed chart of requirements with deadlines and recipients identified. (Towers Watson)
[Guidance Overview] 5500 Reporting Change for Multiple Employer Plans (PDF)
"Beginning with the 2014 plan year MEPs must attach a list of employers participating in the plan including ... a good faith estimate of the percentage of total aggregate employee and employer contributions made by each participating employer during the plan year relative to the total contributions made by all participating employers during the plan year. The employer must be listed even if no contributions were made by participants or the employer during the plan year being reported." (VOYA Financial)
Welfare Benefit Plan Form 5500 Filing Requirements
"Despite the number and range of welfare plans that are excluded from the annual Form 5500 filing requirement, many company-sponsored welfare plans do not qualify for any of these exclusions. It is incumbent upon plan sponsors to fully understand all features of their welfare benefit plans and to accurately calculate the number of participants on the first day of each plan year in order to avoid potential delinquent Form 5500 filings." (Schneider Downs)
[Official Guidance] 2014 Instructions for IRS Form CT-1, Employer's Annual Railroad Retirement Tax Return (PDF)
"Use Form CT-1 to report taxes imposed by the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA).... File Form CT-1 if you paid one or more employees compensation subject to tax under RRTA. A payer of sick pay (including a third party) must file Form CT-1 if the sick pay is subject to Tier 1 railroad retirement taxes. Include sick pay payments on lines 8-11 and, if the withholding threshold is met, line 12 of Form CT-1." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Guidance Overview] IRS Highlights Draft Form 5500-SUP for Gathering Code-Specific Information on Form 5500 Filings
"The new paper-only Form 5500-SUP will be an optional method for providing the Code-specific information for Form 5500 or 5500-SF filers that are not required to file electronically under new IRS mandatory electronic filing requirements.... Form 5500-SUP may be filed by a plan administrator or plan sponsor that is required to file Form 5500 or 5500-SF (using EFAST2 under DOL rules) but is not required to file electronically under the new IRS rules and chooses not to answer the IRS compliance questions electronically as part of its filing on the EFAST2 system. Form 5500-EZ filers will not be required to use Form 5500-SUP because the Code-specific items will be added to the paper-only Form 5500-EZ beginning in 2015." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
The Importance of Hiring a Quality Auditor to Perform Your Employee Benefit Plan Audit (PDF)
24 pages. "This advisory describes why a financial statement audit is important; risks to plan sponsors if a quality audit is not performed; evaluating auditor qualifications; the proposal process, including the request for proposal, proposal evaluation and auditor selection; and documenting the agreement." (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants [AICPA])
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Announcement 2014-34: Realignment of Technical Work Between the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division and Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Tax Exempt and Government Entities) (PDF)
"On January 2, 2015, the authority to prepare revenue rulings, revenue procedures, announcements, and notices, and to issue technical advice (including technical advice memoranda (TAMs)), certain letter rulings, and certain information letters on matters involving exempt organizations, qualified retirement plans, and IRAs will be shifted to TEGE Counsel. TEGE Counsel will be responsible for the issuance of letter rulings except for the letter rulings listed [in this announcement]. In addition, TEGE Counsel will be responsible for ruling on issues involving employer deductions for contributions to welfare benefit funds.... The Employee Plans office of TE/GE (Employee Plans) will retain the authority to issue determination letters and the Exempt Organizations office of TE/GE (Exempt Organizations) will retain the authority to issue determination letters, including determination letters on the exempt status of organizations under Sections 501(c) and 521." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Proposed Enhancements for a Modest IRS Pilot-Compliance Program Limited to Owner-Employee Plans and Foreign Deferred Compensation Plans
"The article ... offers three suggestions about reporting improvements, many of which were previously implemented, but are no longer in use. First, sponsors of foreign plans maintained primarily for non-resident aliens and of domestic plans limited to owner-employees should provide more information on their respective annual U.S. income-tax returns about their plan contributions and distributions. Second, the Service should issue separate 5500 forms for the different kinds of non-ERISA plans required to make such filings.... Third, the Service's reporting regulations should be revised to be consistent with its practices, whether it be to require annual Form 5500 reports from Code Section 403(b)(1) plans or from unfunded plans." (Albert Feuer, via SSRN)
[Guidance Overview] New Annual Filing Requirements for Multiple Employer Retirement Plans -- and Some for Welfare Plans Too (PDF)
"An interim final regulation from DOL... provides that the [2014] annual return/report (Form 5500) of a MEP must include a list of participating employers and a good faith estimate of the percentage of total contributions (employer and employee) made by each participating employer during the plan year.... It is required of all MEPs including defined benefit, defined contribution, and welfare benefit plans.... The contribution percentages reported can be developed using the same method (cash, modified cash, or accrual) for calculating the good faith estimate that is used for recognizing other financial transactions on the Form 5500." (Buck Consultants at Xerox)
[Opinion] Text of Comments by U.S. Chamber of Commerce to PBGC on Proposed Reporting of Distribution Methods, Payment of Premiums (PDF)
"[T]he PBGC intends to revise the 2015 premium filing procedures and instructions to require reporting of certain undertakings to cash out or annuitize benefits for a specified group of former employees. We strongly discourage collection of this information as we see no benefit to it and also because no reason has been offered for it. In addition, it is not clear exactly what type of information will be sought." (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
[Guidance Overview] PBGC Issues Guidance on the Effect of HATFA on Underfunded Plan Reporting (PDF)
"Because of the retroactive application of HATFA rates, it is possible that a 4010 filing that has already been submitted is no longer required.... If a filer stated in the 4010 filing that an actuarial report would be submitted by the alternative due date, but the report is no longer required, the filer need not submit the report. In addition, if a 4010 filing is not required for the next information year, the filer need not report to the PBGC the reason why the filing is not necessary. However, PBGC may contact the filer asking why the report or filing was not submitted. Filers wishing to avoid such correspondence may send an email to the PBGC explaining the situation to ERISA.4010@pbgc.gov" (Prudential)
2014 End of Year Plan Sponsor 'To Do' List: Qualified Retirement Plans
Includes detailed checklists for [1] All Qualified Plans; [2] Section 401(k) Plans; [3] Defined Contribution Plans (Other Than Section 401(k) Plans); [4] Defined Benefit Plans; and [5] Section 403(b) Plans. (Snell & Wilmer)
[Guidance Overview] Contributing Employers to Multiemployer Plans Are Not Off the Hook: Tracking the Full-Time Status of Employees
"Contributing employers to multiemployer plans were relieved by the Treasury Department's interim guidance stating that they will not be subject to the employer shared responsibility payments under the [ACA] with respect to employees for whom they contribute to a multiemployer plan that provides minimum value, offers dependent child coverage and is affordable.... That led many employers to believe mistakenly that they do not have to determine the full-time status of these employees ... [C]ontributing employers still need to determine which employees are full time in order to properly comply with IRS reporting requirements." (Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center)
IRS Form 5498-SA for 2015: HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA Information (PDF)
"This information is submitted to the [IRS] by the trustee of your health savings account (HSA), Archer medical savings account (MSA), or Medicare Advantage MSA (MA MSA).... Generally, contributions you or someone other than your employer make to your HSA are deductible on your tax return. Employer contributions to your HSA may be excluded from your income and are not deductible by you. You and your employer can make contributions to your HSA in the same year." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Official Guidance] Text of DOL Interim Final Rule with Request for Comments: Revisions to Annual Return/Report -- Multiple-Employer Plans
"This interim final rule describes revisions to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan and Form 5500-SF Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan ... to implement annual reporting changes for multiple-employer plans required by The Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act (CSEC Act), enacted on April 7, 2014.... Specifically, the annual return/report of a multiple-employer plan must include a list of participating employers and a good faith estimate of the percentage of total contributions made by each participating employer during the plan year. This interim final rule also includes findings by the [DOL] ... that good cause exists to adopt these revisions on an interim final basis without prior notice and public comments." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA])
2014 End of Year 'To Do' List for Health & Welfare Plan Sponsors
Items include: [1] Consider impact of Supreme Court Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case and subsequent increase in number of states recognizing same sex marriage; [2] Reconsider need for domestic partner benefits; [3] Report and pay reinsurance fees; [4] Comply with large employer shared responsibility rules if applicable, or pay penalties; [5] Gear up for Code section 6055 and 6056 reporting; [6] Large employers must report on health coverage offered to full-time employees; [7] Amend Code section 125 cafeteria and flexible benefit plan by December 31, 2014 for recent changes in the law; [8] If a group health plan is a grandfathered plan, review grandfathered status; [9] Update CHIP notice; rethink COBRA under severance agreements; [10] Obtain HIPAA standard electronic transaction certifications. (Snell & Wilmer)
[Official Guidance] Text of PBGC Disaster Relief Announcement 14-07 in Response to Earthquake in California
"This Disaster Relief Announcement does not cover every situation in which PBGC disaster relief may be warranted. For example, it does not capture every person that might experience difficulty in meeting a PBGC deadline for reasons relating to the Earthquake that began on August 24, 2014, in California. It also does not grant specific disaster relief for all filings." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
[Guidance Overview] HHS Releases Additional Guidance on HPID Requirements (PDF)
"Sponsors of self-insured large health plans must apply for an HPID for each controlling health plan by November 5, 2014. Guidance issued [on Oct. 27] confirms that employers can obtain just one HPID for each ERISA plan.... The ability to treat an ERISA plan as a [Controlling Health Plan (CHP)] with a single HPID will greatly ease the HPID application process for employers. CHPs must also certify compliance with electronic transactions by December 31, 2015. Fewer HPIDs should also help with that compliance requirement." (Buck Consultants at Xerox)
[Official Guidance] 2015 Instructions for IRS Form 5498-ESA, Coverdell ESA Contribution Information (PDF)
"File Form 5498-ESA, Coverdell ESA Contribution Information, with the IRS by May 31, 2016, for each person for whom you maintained any Coverdell education savings account (ESA) during 2015. A Coverdell education savings account is a trust or custodial account created or organized in the United States exclusively for the purpose of paying the qualified education expenses of an individual who is the designated beneficiary of the trust or custodial account. The account must be designated as a Coverdell ESA at the time it is created or organized in order to be treated as a Coverdell ESA for tax purposes. The governing instrument creating the trust must meet the requirements of section 530(b)(1)." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
2015 PTIN Renewal Period Underway for Tax Professionals
"All current PTINs will expire Dec. 31, 2014. Anyone who prepares or helps prepare any federal tax return or claim for refund, for compensation, must have a valid PTIN from the IRS. The PTIN must be used as the identifying number on returns prepared.... For those who already have a 2014 PTIN, the renewal process can be completed online and only takes a few moments. The renewal fee is $63." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
IRS Publishes Draft of New Form 5500-SUP for 2015 to Track Certain Plan Information
"The IRS has issued a draft of a new form it intends to release for 2015 -- Form 5500-SUP, Annual Return of Employee Benefit Plan Supplemental Information.... This form asks specific questions regarding nondiscrimination, coverage, amendments, deductions, unrelated business taxable income, in-service distributions, and U.S. territory." (Ascensus)
ERISA at 40: Stewards Reflect on Good, Bad
"[ERISA] made some great advances in retirement security since its passage in 1974, but missed some opportunities as well, like structuring the [PBGC] and keeping the focus on fiduciary duty, said past and present Labor Department officials who gathered in Washington to celebrate the law's anniversary.... Not having the reporting and disclosure requirements of ERISA apply to state and local governments also was a mistake, former officials said, particularly as many public plans and taxpayers face serious underfunding demands." (Pensions & Investments)
PBGC Topics for Single-Employer Pension Plans (PDF)
39 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] PBGC and legislative initiatives regarding 4062(e) and plant shutdown liability; [2] PBGC's early warning program and involvement in corporate transactions, including financings and capital restructurings; and [3] Plan termination issues in voluntary bankruptcies. (Morgan Lewis)
[Official Guidance] Text of PBGC Technical Update 14-2: Effect of HATFA on 4010 Reporting
"If a 4010 filing contains actuarial information for 2013 based on segment rates that differ from those the plan ultimately uses, ordinarily the filing would need to be amended. PBGC appreciates that it would be unduly burdensome to require such amendments. Therefore, 4010 filings need not be amended solely to revise actuarial information that changed because of a decision to use HATFA rates for the 2013 plan year of a plan reported in the filing.... PBGC reserves the right to request that a filer submit revised actuarial information for 2013 reflecting the rates the plan ultimately uses for 2013, in the event PBGC decides it needs the information for its monitoring and enforcement activities. If PBGC requests such information, it will provide sufficient time to comply with the request." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
IRS to Temporarily Shut Down FIRE Filing System Oct. 11 Through Oct. 14
"The IRS [has] announced ... that the IRS electronic filing system known as FIRE (Filing Information Returns Electronically) will be shut down from approximately 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, until approximately 6:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. The reason for the shutdown, according to the IRS website, is due to an annual power outage, apparently for routine maintenance. The problem is this shutdown is scheduled for three of the last five days before the October 15 filing deadline for calendar year plans that requested an extension." (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA])
[Guidance Overview] CMS Guidance Clarifies Who Must Obtain Health Plan Identifiers by November 5 Deadline
"With the November 5, 2014 deadline looming, this guidance arrives in the nick of time. Employers will need to read the FAQs carefully (the new HPID FAQs are mixed in with others on the [CMS] webpage) to determine which of their plans need an HPID or may be treated as [subhealth plans] for which an HPID is optional. And time is of the essence, since the enumeration process is complicated -- the quick reference guide identifies 25 discrete steps on the path to obtaining an HPID." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Finalizes Regs Requiring Electronic Filing for Certain Retirement Plan Reporting
"These rules relate to retirement plan reporting requirements under the Code that are not satisfied by filing Form 5500 with the DOL -- for 401(k) plans, Form 8955-SSA (reporting vested benefits of terminated participants) and Form 5500-EZ (reporting one-participant and certain foreign plans), as applicable, must be filed with the IRS. The final rules apply to any plan administrator or employer required to file at least 250 returns of any type -- including income tax returns, information returns such as Form W-2 and Form 1099, and employment tax returns.... Notably, the preamble reiterated that Code-specific items may be added to the Form 5500 (as was indicated when the regulations were proposed), but provided no details." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
[Official Guidance] Apprenticeship and Training Plan Notice (DOL Filing Page)
"Plan administrators of welfare plans that provide apprenticeship or training benefits, or both, may use this web page to electronically file the notice described in section 2520.104-22 of the [DOL's] regulations. The [DOL] recently published a proposed regulation that would make it mandatory to electronically file the notice. In the interim, plan administrators are encouraged to file plan notices using this electronic system. Plan administrators who use the electronic filing system will have satisfied the filing requirements under the current regulation." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])
[Official Guidance] Top Hat Plan Statement (DOL Filing Page)
"Plan administrators of 'top hat' plans can use this web page to electronically file the statement described in section 2520.104-23 of the [DOL's] regulations. Top hat plans are unfunded or insured pension plans for a select group of management or highly compensated employees. The [DOL] recently published a proposed regulation that would make it mandatory to electronically file the statement. In the interim, plan administrators of top hat plans are encouraged to file plan statements using this electronic system. Plan administrators who use this electronic filing system will have satisfied the filing requirements under the current regulation." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])
[Guidance Overview] IRS Issues Final Regs on Retirement Plan Electronic Filing Requirements
"Minor modifications include the following. [1] Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits, must be filed under the Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system. [2] One-participant or foreign plans eligible to file the Form 5500-EZ, Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan, may use the DOL's computerized ERISA Filing Acceptance System (EFAST2) to file without being subject to any of the attachment filing requirements. [3] The regulations specify that the economic hardship exemption to the electronic filing requirement guidance will be issued separately and that the Treasury anticipates granting the waivers only in exceptional cases." (Ascensus)
[Official Guidance] Text of DOL Proposed Regs: Electronic Filing of Notices for Apprenticeship and Training Plans and Statements for Pension Plans for Certain Select Employees
"This document contains proposed regulations that would revise filing procedures for apprenticeship and training plan notices and 'top hat' plan statements ... to require electronic submission of these notices and statements.... The Department has determined that regular mail or personal delivery are no longer the most efficient or cost-effective ways to file and process these notices and statements. The Department annually receives approximately 120 apprenticeship and training plan notices and approximately 2,000 top hat plan statement filings. To make the information on these notices and statements accessible, the Department converts each paper filing to electronic format. The proposal will eliminate the need for this time-consuming task." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor)
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Final Regs: Employee Retirement Benefit Plan Returns Required on Magnetic Media
"This document contains final regulations relating to the requirements for filing certain employee retirement benefit plan statements, returns, and reports on magnetic media. The term magnetic media includes electronic filing, as well as other magnetic media specifically permitted under applicable regulations, revenue procedures, publications, forms, instructions, or other guidance on the IRS.gov Internet website.... With respect to the filing requirements under sections 6058 and 6059, these regulations extend the effective date by 12 months, so that the regulations generally apply to returns and actuarial reports required to be filed for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2015, but only for filings with a filing deadline (not taking into account extensions) after December 31, 2015. As announced in the proposed regulations, the IRS anticipates adding items on the Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF relating solely to Code requirements and intends to provide an optional paper-only form containing those Code-related items for use by small filers. It is anticipated that the form will be available to satisfy the filing requirements with respect to the 2015 plan year." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Guidance Overview] IRS Health Coverage Reporting Instructions Leave Many Questions Unanswered (PDF)
"While the release of the instructions and forms allows issuers and employers to begin the process of designing systems for reporting, many unanswered questions remain regarding these complex requirements.... Some of the most significant are ... Reporting for a Group of Related Entities .... Reporting for Insurance Provided to Multiple Employers... Distribution of Filings to Employees... Reporting for Non-Employees.... Requirement to Provide a Single Form 1095-C to Employee.... [and] Requirement to Perform 1095-C Reporting Even if Transition Relief Applies." (Groom Law Group)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Employee Plans News, Issue 2014-15, September 22, 2014 (PDF)
Topics include: [1] Form 5498 -- errors by IRA trustees, issuers and custodians may cause tax trouble for IRA owners; [2] Finding missing plan participants: steps plan sponsors may take to locate missing participants; [3] DOL corner: Updates on brokerage windows and missing participants; and [4] IRS and DOL guide for retirement plan reporting and disclosure issues (chart summarizes plan sponsors responsibilities on Form 5500 annual reports, participant notices and other items). (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Guidance Overview] Social Security Numbers for ACA Compliance: The Search Is On
"What is a reasonable effort to obtain a Social Security number? [1] Reporting entity requests Social Security number at the time the relationship with the covered individual is established. The request may be made orally, in writing (including on an employment application) or by e-mail. [2] If the number has not been provided, the reporting entity must request it again by December 31 of the first year of coverage. [3] If the number still has not been provided, the reporting entity must make another annual request by December 31 of the following year. [4] If the reporting entity followed these steps, it has acted in a responsible manner and does not need to try again. The covered person's date of birth may be used instead." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])

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