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PBGC to Pay Pension Benefits for Employees and Retirees at Sears and Kmart
"[PBGC] is taking steps to assume responsibility for Sears Holdings Corporation's two defined benefit pension plans, which cover about 90,000 people.... Sears filed for Chapter 11 protection on October 15, 2018. PBGC is stepping in to become responsible for the company's two pension plans because it is clear that Sears' continuation of the plans is no longer possible.... PBGC estimates that the Sears' plans are underfunded by $1.4 billion leaving them 64 percent funded." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
[Official Guidance] Text of 2018 Instructions for IRS Form 8915A: Qualified 2016 Disaster Retirement Plan Distributions and Repayments (PDF)
"Use 2018 Form 8915A if you were adversely affected by a 2016 disaster listed in Table 1 ... and you received a distribution that qualifies for favorable tax treatment.... Qualified 2016 disaster distributions can't be made in 2018. Only repayments of qualified 2016 disaster distributions can be made in 2018. You will use 2018 Form 8915A only if you are making the repayments over 3 years." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
#10YearChallenge for 403(b) Plans
"The restatement deadline is an opportunity to retroactively restate the plan document (generally, to January 1, 2010) to correct any defects in the terms of the plan documents, such as missed plan amendments. It is also the last chance for tax-exempt employers with individually designed plan documents to restate onto a pre-approved document, as the IRS does not now, and does not intend to, issue approval letters for individually designed 403(b) plans" (E is for ERISA)
[Opinion] PBGC Advocate's Report Highlights Issues Important to Retirees
"Making omitted participant claims to PBGC ... has historically been a difficult, complicated process for omitted participants and for the organizations that advocate for them.... [O]ver the past five years, the PBGC has made significant progress in streamlining the claims process for omitted participants. The 2018 report describes how all omitted participant claims have now been consolidated in a single PBGC office, which will make the claims process less daunting for retirees trying to obtain their benefits." (Pension Rights Center)
DOL Reiterates That ERISA Preempts State Laws Requiring Written Consent for Wage Withholding
"The DOL has made available an information letter confirming that state laws requiring written consent before amounts are withheld from employees' wages are preempted under ERISA ... The letter was issued to an insurers' association that asked whether ERISA preempts state laws that prohibit employers from adopting and implementing automatic enrollment arrangements." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
Delayed Employee Retirement Presents Challenges to Business Planning
"When your employees are unable to retire on time, the impact can expand beyond just the employees and their families.... Employees who stay on the job past the traditional retirement age can create higher costs for the business through increased payroll and benefit costs.... [An] aging workforce may negatively influence the buyer's perception about business' sale price[.]" (MassMutual)
[Guidance Overview] Implications for Employee Benefit Plans of California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018
"Even if the [California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA)] is ultimately determined to be preempted in the context of ERISA plans, it will still apply to data collection by an employer in its capacity as an employer, as well as data related to benefits and policies not covered by ERISA. This includes information collected by an employer in connection with administering vacation, sick leave, paid time off or leaves of absence. Other benefits that are generally not subject to ERISA include health savings accounts, dependent care flexible spending accounts, many short-term disability plans and certain voluntary benefits." (Hunton Andrews Kurth, via Lexology)
Form 5500 Schedule C Questionnaire Process
"Create a standard template questionnaire that will apply to most vendors.... Create a template for indirect compensation only that will be sent to plan trustees and plan employees.... Coordinate the service provider list with the Form 5500 preparer to verify its accuracy.... Review returned questionnaires to make sure they are fully completed by responders and if any questions need to be resolved." (Lindquist LLP)
Developing a High-Performance Retirement Plan Committee
"[1] Choose the right number of members ... [2] Appoint a Chairman and a Secretary ... [3] Utilize a Committee Charter and Committee Roster ... [4] Provide formal fiduciary training ... [5] Meet 2 to 4 times per year (but no less than annually) ... [6] Keep meeting minutes ... [7] Maintain a 'fiduciary file' ... [8] Purchase fiduciary liability insurance." (Greenspring Advisors)
Rising Penalties for Non-Compliant Employee Benefit Plans
"2019 penalties for the following violations reflect the increase from 2018: [1] Failure to file an annual report (Form 5500).... [2] Failure to provide blackout notices.... [3] MEWA's failure to file required report (M-1).... [4] Employer's failure to tell employees about Medicaid/CHIP coverage.... [5] Failure to furnish reports (e.g., pension benefit statements) to certain former participants and beneficiaries or to maintain records.... [6] Failing to comply with the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act (GINA)." (Hall Benefits Law)
[Official Guidance] Text of PBGC Interest Rate Update for Benefits Payable in Terminated Single-Employer Plans, February 2019
"The February 2019 interest assumptions under the benefit payments regulation will be 1.25 percent for the period during which a benefit is in pay status and 4.00 percent during any years preceding the benefit's placement in pay status. In comparison with the interest assumptions in effect for January 2019, these assumptions represent a decrease of 0.25% in the immediate rate and are otherwise unchanged." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
[Official Guidance] Text of DOL Annual Adjustments to Civil Penalties for 2019 (PDF)
"This final rule sets forth the Department's 2019 annual adjustments for inflation to its civil monetary penalties, effective [on the date published in the Federal Register]." Penalties under various ERISA provisions begin on page 31; FMLA penalties are on page 34. This pre-publication version is being made available by DOL. It will be published in the Federal Register when normal government operations resume. (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])
Mapping Your Route to Pension Plan Termination Readiness
"[1] Gather background data and assess current status.... [2] Reach decisions on strategic objectives in a compressed timeframe.... [3] Build consensus among the many stakeholders.... [4] Outline key communications priorities.... [5] Create, implement, and monitor your multi-year strategic plan." (Findley)
IRS Increases User Fees for Requests for Determination on Qualified Plan Termination
"[E]ffective July 1, 2019, the user fee to submit an Application for Determination for a Terminating Plan (IRS Form 5310) will be increased from $2,300 to $3,000.... [T]he user fee to submit a request for a determination letter for an individually designed plan remains at $2,500; and the user fee for regular submissions, under the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) under [EPCRS], remains the same ($1,500 for plans with assets of $500,000 or less, $3,000 for plans with total assets in excess of $500,000 to $10,000,000, and $3,500 for plans with assets of over $10,000,000)." (Ice Miller LLP)
Making Your Benefit Plan Audit Easier
"Your auditors will want to see support for any items selected for testing.... [Y]ou will need to keep all of your payroll and benefit plan files on hand until the audit has been completed.... To prevent errors or misstatement, find ways to automate or at least simplify your process.... You can also simplify the calculation of employer contributions to prevent errors." (Schneider Downs)
Cybersecurity: Don't Become a Different Kind of Victim
"A former broker at a national brokerage firm was recently sanctioned by FINRA after accepting instructions to transfer assets out of a client account.... The instructions were actually sent by an imposter who had obtained access to the client's account, presumably through some form of cyber-crime. Unfortunately, the broker unwittingly contributed to the imposter's malfeasance by not only accepting the instructions but by also taking pro-active steps to circumvent his brokerage firm's controls." (Winstead PC)
Second Circuit Affirms Lower Court Ruling in Challenge to Xerox Pension Plan Calculations (PDF)
19 pages. "The District Court's selection of the new hire remedy falls within the 'range of permissible decisions available under an abuse of discretion standard.'... [We] affirm the District Court's decision to use the new hire approach as an equitable remedy to redress the Plan Administrator's notice violations.... We affirm the District Court's decision to use the prime rate for [the award of prejudgment interest]." [Frommert v. Conkright, Nos. 17-114, 17-738 (2d Cir. Jan. 14, 2019)] (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit)
Long-Awaited Employee Benefit Plan Audit Standard Final Balloted
"Changes to the form and content of the auditor's report on the financial statements and the ERISA required supplemental schedules are among the most significant changes resulting from the new standard.... Auditors are required to perform procedures sufficient to ensure that amounts received and disbursed as reported by the trustee or custodian were determined in accordance plan provisions.... Auditors are required to read the draft Form 5500 and identify material inconsistencies, if any, with the audited financial statements prior to dating the auditor's report." (Schneider Downs)
[Opinion] SPARK Comment Letter to IRS on Proposed Hardship Distribution Regs (PDF)
11 pages. "By its terms, the Substantiation Memo only refers to the existing safe-harbor events. The IRS should expressly clarify that the substantiation guidelines described in the Substantiation Memo will cover the new safe-harbor event for expenses incurred as a result of federally-declared disasters and ensure that the Internal Revenue Manual is updated accordingly. This update should set forth what information and notifications the IRS would expect a plan administrator to collect and provide to substantiate the new seventh safe-harbor hardship event for expenses related to federally-declared disasters." (The SPARK Institute)
What to Do if You Missed Your RMD
"There is no effect on the prior year other than you have a potential 50% penalty.... [As] soon as you discover it, you should figure out the amount you were short or whatever the RMD that was missed, and take the makeup distribution immediately. Then, of course, take you regular distribution for the year so you stay on track. And then you report that on ... Form 5329.... [Y]ou must attach a statement saying two things: number one, that I made up the shortfall, you have to show good faith that whatever I missed, I took immediately upon discovery. Then give a short explanation of why, and IRS waives the penalty in almost every case." (Morningstar Advisor)
Restoring Lawsuit Winnings to an IRA
"An IRA owner sometimes has a claim against an investment advisor or a company for losses in connection with products or services provided to the IRA.... In the context of qualified plans, a recovery on a claim like this is allowed to be paid into the plan as a 'restorative payment' ... and as such the IRS does not consider it a contribution to the plan. Therefore, it is not subject to the rules and limits applicable to plan contributions. The IRS similarly has allowed IRA owners to contribute this type of recovery to their IRAs." (Morningstar Advisor)
[Guidance Overview] Puerto Rico Tax Reform Changes Employee Benefit Provisions
"Act No. 257 of December 10, 2018 amended the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code of 2011 ... to simplify our tax system, stimulate economic growth, and promote voluntary compliance with tax laws. Although the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico has expressed reservations with respect to certain portions of the Act, in general, it became effective on December 10, 2018.... This Alert provides a general description of the most important aspects of the Act in the Employee Benefits Area[.]" (McConnell Valdes)
[Opinion] American Benefits Council Comment Letter to IRS on Proposed Regs for Hardship Distributions
"The most critical issue raised by the proposed regulation that we ask the IRS to address as soon as possible is the need for confirmation that taxpayers may rely on the proposed regulation until a final regulation is published, and that any changes made in the final regulations that are more restrictive than the proposal will be applied prospectively only." (American Benefits Council)
New Year's Resolution: Prepare Yourself for an IRS or DOL Plan Audit
"How confident are you that your company's retirement plans are being run in accordance with all legal requirements under [ERISA] and the Internal Revenue Code? ... This Alert addresses what questions you should be asking when attempting to potentially minimize monetary sanctions, serious consequences to your employees, and personal liability for company officials who are ERISA-plan fiduciaries responsible for the investment of plan assets and plan administration that can stem from an IRS or DOL Plan audit." (Greenberg Traurig)
[Opinion] Pension Rights Center Comment Letter to EBSA on Proposed Exemption Involving Retirement Clearinghouse, LLC (PDF)
"To better inform and protect participants we recommend that the conditions of the proposed exemption be more specific in several areas.... [A]ccount holders should be fully informed of their rights to place their accounts with another IRA provider or to cash out on demand ... [C]onsider imposing limits on some of the fees, particularly the monthly administration fee and the transfer and communication fees to be assessed after RCH identifies a new employer.... [I]nclude a statement that participant records must be maintained until the accounts are distributed ... [R]equire an appeals procedure for mistakes or disputes." (Pension Rights Center)
[Official Guidance] Text of Instructions for 2018 IRS Form 5500-EZ: Annual Return of a One-Participant Retirement Plan or a Foreign Plan (PDF)
"What's New: ... The title of Form 5500-EZ has been changed to match the purpose of the form to include both a one-participant retirement plan and a foreign plan.... Plan characteristics code 3D has been updated to reflect the IRS changes for the pre-approved plans as prescribed in Rev. Proc. 2017-41[.]" [Also available: 2018 IRS Form 5500-EZ] (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
ERISA Litigation Defendants Take Note: Burdens of Proof Are Becoming More Weighty
"Many parties to ERISA litigation and arbitration pay lip service to the burden of proof, put on their respective cases and leave it to the trier of fact to decide which side deserves the victory. Burdens of proof have become increasingly important, however, as procedural and substantive issues become more complex, and judges often have less time to deal with the subtleties in ERISA litigation.... Emphasizing burdens of proof can mean the difference between winning or losing, and potentially millions of dollars in damages." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Issues Updated Eligible Rollover Distribution Notices
"The IRS recently updated its model notices in [Notice 2018-74] to include a number of significant changes in the law. There are two model notices, one for payments from a Roth account and one for payments not from a Roth account. Two changes addressed in the updated model notices apply to participants of most retirement plans, while others only apply to participants in certain governmental plans." (Frost Brown Todd LLC)
Boosting the Effectiveness of Retirement Plan Communications (PDF)
12 pages. "[T]he general public often misunderstands words that are commonly used by financial providers, employers and others in the retirement planning industry.... Even small tweaks can help break down complex ideas and make important financial information accessible to plan participants. Employers can support their participants by making their retirement communications easy to understand and free from jargon, then delivering them via the method of communication employees prefer." (Great-West Financial and Empower Retirement)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Proposed Regs Relax Requirements for Hardship Distributions
"The proposed regulations generally clarify or supplement recent statutory changes, including those made by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Except where noted, the rules and changes summarized herein also apply to plans of tax-exempt organizations under Section 403(b).... Except for the required elimination of the six-month contribution suspension as of January 1, 2020, plan sponsors generally will have flexibility with implementing the above changes after the proposed regulations are finalized." (McCarter & English)
Driving Plan Participation Through Education Efforts
"Follow these guidelines to ensure an effective and successful education program, and in turn, drive participation rates. [1] Cover basic investment concepts ... [2] Address possible misconceptions ... [3] Emphasize financial wellness ... [4] Encourage attendance ... [5] Commit to education." (PlanPILOT)
[Guidance Overview] Puerto Rico Treasury Department Issues Guidance on Retirement Plan Limits for 2019
"For plans qualified only in Puerto Rico, the limits on elective deferrals, catch-up and after-tax contributions, all remain unchanged for 2019, while the limits on annual benefits, annual contributions, and plan compensation, and the highly-compensated employee threshold, all increased for 2019. For plans qualified both in Puerto Rico and the U.S. ... the limits on catch-up and after-tax contributions, all remain unchanged for 2019, while the limits on elective deferrals, annual benefits, annual contributions, and plan compensation, and the highly-compensated employee threshold, all increased for 2019." (Groom Law Group)
[Official Guidance] Text of 2018 IRS Form 5500-EZ: Annual Return of a One-Participant Retirement Plan or a Foreign Plan (PDF)
"This form is required to be filed under section 6058(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Certain foreign retirement plans are also required to file this form[.]" [Fillable PDF; may not open correctly in some web browsers.] (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
401(k) Contribution Deadlines - You Don't Want to Miss Them!
"All 401(k) plan contributions have deposit deadlines -- and it's up to 401(k) fiduciaries to meet them.... [C]onfusion can easily lead to late contributions.... [C]onsequences for the employer ... range from mild (losing a tax deduction, making participants whole for lost earnings) to severe (plan disqualification, IRS and/or civil penalties).... [This article includes] a summary of the deposit deadlines applicable to all 401(k) plan contributions -- including how to correct late contributions." (Employee Fiduciary)
No VCP Fee Relief in Updated Rev. Proc.; Some Fees Increased
"Unlike prior years, the 2018 VCP fee was determined by reference to net plan assets with no reduced fees for minimum distribution, participant loan, or plan amendment failures.... The revised schedule drew some criticism from trade groups that advocated for a return to some of the reduced fees for common failures.... The updated procedure for 2019 in [Rev. Proc. 2019-04] does not budge on the VCP fees[.]" (Buck)
Who's Got My Beneficiary Designation ... or Who Lost It?
"When plans and participants were younger, it is likely that no one paid these important forms much attention -- after all, no one was going to die, right?! But, with the workforce aging and plans maturing, it will be increasingly important that designations are retained somewhere so that the participant's named beneficiaries get what is coming to them.... Here are a few ideas for making sure you have proper beneficiary information when it is needed[.]" (Ferenczy Benefits Law Center)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Provides Relief for Improper Exclusion of Part-Time Employees from 403(b) Plan Participation
"According to [Notice 2018-95], a 403(b) plan with a provision to exclude employees working less than 20 hours per week will not be considered noncompliant if it did not consider such employees eligible to participate in the 403(b) plan on an ongoing basis once those employees first completed 1,000 hours of service. The Notice includes a 'Relief Period' and a 'Fresh Start.' " (Voya)
Four Critical ERISA Cases to Watch in 2019
"[1] Plan participants' role in retirement plan management put into question.... [2] Will the standard challenge finally make its way to the Supreme Court? ... [3] Courts grapple with which party must prove loss causation in a breach of fiduciary duty case.... [4] The [DOL]'s fiduciary rule meets its demise." (401K Specialist)
2017 Tax Law Change Provides Relief to Workers with 401(k) Plan Loans Who Lose Their Jobs
"[T]he Act defines the employment termination event that triggers the extended rollover period as a 'severance from employment.' ... [In] a situation in which a company sells some of its assets ... and transfers some of its employees to the buyer ... the transferred employees are in many instances doing the same work both before and after the transaction, ... with the potential implication that they did not really terminate employment, even though the transfer to the buyer's payroll means that their loans with the selling company's 401(k) plan are called." (Blank Rome LLP)
Prepare to Electronically File Your VCP Submissions
"[Rev. Proc. 2018-52 provides] the latest official guidance consolidating the rules and procedures that govern [EPCRS]. The most significant change is a shift from paper filing to mandatory electronic filing for all [VCP] submissions.... Effective on or after April 1, 2019, electronic filing (including payment of user fees) via the www.pay.gov website will be mandatory." (Compliance Dashboard)
[Official Guidance] Text of 2018 Instructions for IRS Form 8955-SSA: Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits (PDF)
Jan. 2, 2019. "Plan administrators of plans subject to the vesting standards of section 203 of ERISA must file Form 8955-SSA.... Sponsors and administrators of government, church, and other plans that are not subject to the vesting standards of section 203 of ERISA (including plans that cover only owners and their spouses) may elect to file Form 8955-SSA voluntarily." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Guidance Overview] Puerto Rico Treasury Announces Retirement Plan Limits for 2019
"The limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan ... is $225,000. The limitation on annual additions to a participant's account under a defined contribution plan ... is $56,000. The annual compensation limit ... is $280,000.... The elective deferral (contribution) limit ... for an employee who participates in a dual-qualified retirement plan ... as well as for an employee who participates in a retirement plan sponsored by the federal government is $19,000." (McConnell Valdes)
PBGC Premiums Rise Again in 2019; Other Minor Filing Changes Noted
"The flat-rate premium rises to $80 per participant, up from $74. The variable-rate premium for these types of plans is also now higher, at $43 per $1,000 of unfunded vested benefits ... The flat-rate premium for [multiemployer] plans is $29 per participant, rising from $28.... The PBGC also revised the instructions regarding disaster relief to reflect recent changes made to the agency's practices in this area." (HR Daily Advisor)
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Rev. Proc. 2019-4: Revised Procedures for Determination Letters and Letter Rulings
"This revenue procedure is a general update of Rev. Proc. 2018-4 ...

"[4] Section 8.03(1) is modified to add Section 414(b), (c) and (m) to the list of sections for which a determination is not made when a determination letter is issued in accordance with this revenue procedure.

"[5] Section 9.03 is modified to clarify that in order for a plan to be reviewed for, and a determination letter relied upon with respect to, whether the terms of the plan satisfy one of the design-based safe harbors in Sections 1.401(a)(4)-2(b) and 1.401(a)(4)-3(b) ... the plan document must provide a definition of compensation that satisfies Section 1.414(s)-1(c)....

"[8] Section 24.03 is modified to provide that Employee Plans Rulings and Agreements will consider a request for an extension of time for making an election ... to recharacterize annual contributions made to a Roth IRA. Employee Plans Rulings and Agreements will also consider recharacterization requests ... that relate to a conversion or rollover contribution to a Roth IRA but only if the rollover or conversion was made prior to January 1, 2018.

"[9] Section 24.03 is modified to clarify that SB/SE Exam will be notified if a request for an extension of time for making an election or other application for relief under Section 301.9100-1 is submitted when the return is under examination....

"[11] Section 30.07(2) is modified to provide that beginning April 1, 2019, VCP submissions and the applicable user fees must be made using www.pay.gov. Section 30.07(3) is modified to clarify that the payment of user fees for pre-approved plan submissions and letter ruling requests may not be made using www.pay.gov and that such requests must still be accompanied by a check in the amount of the applicable user fee....

"[15] Appendix A .06(1)(c) is modified to reflect that the user fee for Form 5310 will increase from $2,300 to $3,000 for submissions postmarked on or after July 1, 2019." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])

[Official Guidance] Text of GASB Exposure Draft: Implementation Guide -- Fiduciary Activities
37 pages. Includes amendments to existing Q&As, along with new Q&As covering: [1] Identifying fiduciary activities; ... [2] Reporting fiduciary activities in fiduciary funds ... [3] Statement of fiduciary net position ... [4] Statement of changes in fiduciary net position. (Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB])
Habits to Create an Effective Benefits Strategy and Open Enrollment, Part 1
"Share your vision with your executive team early in the process to make sure you are staying aligned with the overall objectives of the company and meeting their expectations to prevent misguided efforts and work.... Never underestimate the importance of designating time for planning and prep work to prevent the urgent crises in the future -- make communicating early and often a top priority." (Benefitfocus)
New Class Action Lawsuit Examines How a Common Definition of 'Compensation' Was Applied
"According to the complaint, the plan provided that participants could elect to make pre-tax and after-tax elective contributions, while the employer was required to make matching contributions ... equal to a percentage of a participant's compensation. Also according to the complaint, the plan defined 'compensation' to include certain post-termination payments ... The plaintiff then alleges that the plan fiduciaries re-interpreted the plan to exclude such bonuses in 2016, thus failing to take elective deferrals from such payments and not matching such deferrals." [Karlson v. ConAgra Brands Inc., No. 18-8328 (N.D. Ill., complaint filed Dec. 19, 2018)] (Groom Law Group)
Market Downturn Could Accelerate 401(k) Recordkeeper Consolidation
"The 401(k) record-keeper industry is about to enter the third stage of the consolidation curve. While Stage 1 is about preserving first-mover advantage and Stage 2 is about acquisitions, Stage 3 is about ruthlessly attacking weaker competition.... The 38 national 401(k) record keepers ... are circling just five seats at the winner's table, according to the framework of the consolidation curve. Where does that leave the others? Eating scraps." (InvestmentNews)
[Official Guidance] PBGC Opens 2019 Electronic Premium Filing Program
"My PAA is now ready to accept electronic premium filings for plan years beginning in 2019.... In addition, [PBGC has] made several enhancements to My PAA to simplify/streamline the premium payment process." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
Defined Benefit Plan Liability with Facility Sales, Restructurings and Cessations
"In certain cases of a facility sale, restructuring or cessation, recently released information by the [PBGC] leaves many unanswered questions about plan sponsor liability for single-employer defined benefit plans." (McDermott Will & Emery)
Watch These ERISA Cases in 2019
"A number of vexing issues facing ERISA practitioners came to a head in 2018 and are primed to be resolved in the coming year. This article will examine the cases raising these issues, and the impact their resolution in the coming year will have on retirees and the retirement industry." (Cohen Milstein)
[Official Guidance] Text of 2018 IRS Form 8915A: Qualified 2016 Disaster Retirement Plan Distributions and Repayments (PDF)
"Attach to 2017 Form 1040, 2017 Form 1040A, or 2017 Form 1040NR." [Fillable PDF; may not open correctly in some browsers.] (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Official Guidance] Text of 2018 IRS Publication 721: Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement Benefits (PDF)
32 pages; Dec. 26, 2018. "For distributions made in tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, you have until the due date (including extensions) for your tax return for the tax year in which the offset occurs to roll over a qualified plan loan offset amount." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Official Guidance] Text of 2018 IRS Publication 571: Tax-Sheltered Annuity Plans (403(b) Plans) for Employees of Public Schools and Certain Tax-Exempt Organizations (PDF)
22 pages; rev. Jan. 2019. "Beginning in 2018, as part of a provision contained in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, a retirement savings contribution credit may be claimed for the amount of contributions you make before January 1, 2026, to an ABLE account for which you are the designated beneficiary as defined by section 529A." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Text of 2018 Annual Report of the PBGC Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate (PDF)
45 pages. "[Participants and plan sponsors] have observed and still often note long delays ... confusing and contradictory exchanges ... and difficulties when an issue transcends multiple departments within the agency.... [Given] rising premiums and the dwindling premium payer base as sponsors de-risk their defined benefit plans, the agency must be mindful of the resources it uses when pursuing plan sponsors for prolonged periods of time, such as during protracted negotiations in the distress termination process." (Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
Court Awards Plaintiff's Attorney the Highest Rate Awarded in a Disability Case to Date: $900 per Hour
"[T]he court found that hourly rates of $450 for the associate on the case and $900 for the partner to be reasonable and within the prevailing rates in the market of ERISA attorneys. The court rejected Defendants' argument that [the plaintiff] should not get full fees because a few claims were dismissed early in the case. The court found that the claims arose from the same core of facts such that the work done on the dismissed claims was likely to have aided and overlapped with the successful abuse of discretion claim." [Dimry v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Ret. Plan, No. 16-01413 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 22, 2018)] (Kantor & Kantor)
[Official Guidance] Text of Instructions for IRS Form 8950: Application for VCP Under EPCRS (PDF)
Rev. Jan. 2019. "Modifications have been made to improve the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) by making changes to: [1] Accommodate revisions to the IRS's Voluntary Correction Program (VCP), and [2] Update various references and add other miscellaneous changes." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Pension Plan OCIO: Is It Right for Your Company? (PDF)
"This paper reviews the primary challenges a plan sponsor faces when managing a [DB plan], and outlines the factors to consider in meeting objectives. It examines three models for running a pension: the internal team, the consultant assist, and the [outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO)]. With the help of a questionnaire, readers can better understand which model would be best for their unique pension need." (Vanguard)
New Year's Resolutions to Avoid 401(k) Fiduciary Frustration
"[1] Review plan fees ... [2] Review plan providers ... [3] Review salary deferral deposits ... [4] Review compensation ... [5] Review the employee census ... [6] Review active plan participation." (401K Specialist)
[Official Guidance] Text of PBGC Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation
"This rule adjusts as required by law the maximum civil penalties that PBGC may assess under sections 4071 and 4302 of ERISA. The new maximum amounts are $2,194 for section 4071 penalties and $292 for section 4302 penalties." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
 
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