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[Guidance Overview] DOL Increases Civil Penalty Amounts for 2018 (PDF)
"The DOL's final rule implements the 2018 annual adjustments for civil penalties assessed or enforced by the DOL, including penalties under the FLSA, FMLA, OSH Act and ERISA. The increased penalty amounts became effective on Jan. 2, 2018, and may apply for any violations occurring after Nov. 2, 2015. The updated maximum penalty amounts are shown in [a table]." (Cowden Associates, Inc.)
Seventh Circuit Applies Clear Error Standard to Review of Withdrawal Liability Arbitrator's CBA Interpretation
"[T]he Seventh Circuit applied the clear error standard of review to a withdrawal liability arbitrator's interpretation of the parties' underlying collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that required contributions to a multiemployer pension fund. The Court enforced the arbitrator's findings, a victory for the employer whose withdrawal liability was consequently reduced from over $600,000 to $0." [Laborers' Pension Fund v. W.R. Weis Company, Inc., Nos. 16-2079 & 16-2944 (7th Cir. Jan. 8, 2018)] (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
Updates for the New Year in Benefits and Executive Comp
16 topics are addressed. "[E]mployers should verify that all claims based on determining a disabled status will be handled in compliance with the new rules beginning on April 1, 2018, regardless of the type of ERISA plan involved.... A provision permitting qualified disaster withdrawals [from 401(k) plans] for '2016 disasters' was enacted.... Because some retirement plans had historically excluded [moving expense] reimbursements from compensation for plan purposes, employers will need to verify now that such amounts are included ... [An] employer may not receive a deduction for any qualified transportation fringe benefit under Code section 132(f) provided to an employee, unless the transportation is provided for the safety of the employee." (Winstead PC)
What the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Means for Retirement Benefits
"For Roth IRA conversions in 2018 and later, there will be no option to recharacterize the conversion; all Roth conversions will be irrevocable. What's not clear yet is how the law impacts 2017 conversions." (Morningstar)
[Guidance Overview] New User Fees for Retirement Plan Corrections
"[T]he cost of correcting plan loan errors, late amendments, or missed minimum distributions will increase for most employers.... [A] large employer (plan greater than $10M in net assets) who made errors in administering a dozen or fewer plan loans could have corrected all of these loans for a $300 fee. Now the fee will increase to $3,500. For this reason, there will be more incentive to correct all errors in a single filing when possible." (Nelson Mullins)
[Official Guidance] Text of Instructions for 2017 IRS Form 8955-SSA: Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits (PDF)
Rev. Dec. 28, 2017. "The SSA no longer processes nonstandard pages 2. Report information about separated participants only on page 2 of Form 8955-SSA. If additional space is needed for separated participants, use additional pages 2 only. Do not add another page 1 of Form 8955-SSA, spreadsheets, or other nonstandard formats. A Form 8955-SSA need not be filed for a year if no information is required to be provided for that year by these instructions." [Also online: 2017 Form 8955-SSA (fillable PDF for download; may not open correctly in some browsers)] (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Changing Retirement Plan Administrative Services Providers: Considerations and Pitfalls for Employers
"An employer should give special consideration to the following: Request for a Proposal (RFP) ... Services agreement ... Plan document ... Understanding fees ... Blackout periods and investment lineup changes ... Monitoring service providers." (Stevens & Lee)
The Power of the Financial Wellness Effect
12 pages. "There is growing acceptance among employers that helping employees achieve financial wellness drives value not only for employees, but also for employers ... Employers can maximize the effectiveness of their financial wellness programs by: designing a program that is informed by insights into the unique financial needs of their employees; successfully educating and engaging employees; and helping employees take concrete actions to improve their financial health." (Prudential)
No Further Delay for Disability Claim Procedure Rules, DOL Says
"The Final Rule adds several new requirements for the processing of claims and appeals for disability benefits, including the following: Explanation of reasons for denial ... Statements regarding claim file and internal protocols ... Limitations on denials based on new information ... Avoidance of conflicts of interest ... Deemed exhaustion of claims procedures ... Coverage rescissions ... Communication requirements in non-English languages." (Winston & Strawn LLP)
[Guidance Overview] PBGC Final Regs on Missing Participants: Roadmap Emerges for Due Diligence
"[T]he PBGC consulted and coordinated with both the IRS and the DOL ... The three pieces of recent guidance ... DOL Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2014-01 on Fiduciary Duties and Missing Participants in Terminated Defined Contribution Plans ... The PBGC Rule ... The IRS October 19, 2017 Memorandum ... can be viewed as a rough roadmap -- endorsed by all three agencies -- for plan fiduciaries trying to determine the appropriate due diligence steps to take with respect to missing participants." (Morgan Lewis)
[Guidance Overview] DOL Sets April 1 as Applicability Date for Final Disability Claim Regs
"Although the news release indicates that the DOL has decided on an April 1 applicability date, the regulatory provision modified by the November delay specifies that the regulations will apply to claims filed after (not on) April 1, 2018. Plan sponsors and administrators will need to administer claims under two sets of rules, depending on when the claim was filed. And keep in mind that the disability claim regulations affect any benefit claim that involves a determination of disability by the claims adjudicator, not just claims under disability plans." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)
What Are Plan Committees Responsible For?
"A good way to think of a committee's role is to think of the relationship between a corporate board of directors and management. Management is responsible to and reports up to the board. Management also implements its decisions by directing down and causing the execution of it decisions through the organization. The key difference is that a committee owes an exclusive duty of loyalty and care to plan participants and beneficiaries." (Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC)
[Guidance Overview] Text of IRS Publication 3066: Have You Had Your Check-Up This Year? (For Retirement Plans) (PDF)
Rev. Dec. 2017. 4-page summary of resources and checklists provided by IRS. Includes: [1] List of retirement plan checklists; [2] Tips, publications and forms for plan operation; [3] Common mistakes; [4] IRS corrections programs; and [5] Links to additional resources. (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Official Guidance] Text of PBGC Final Regs: 2018 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 $2,140 for section 4071 penalties and $285 for section 4302 penalties." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
[Official Guidance] Text of PBGC Interest Rate Update for Benefits Payable in Terminated Single-Employer Plans, February 2018
"The February 2018 interest assumptions under the benefit payments regulation will be 0.75 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 2018, these assumptions are unchanged." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Notice 2018-11: Weighted Average Interest Rates, Yield Curves, and Segment Rates Applicable for January 2018 (PDF)
"This notice provides guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve, the corresponding spot segment rates used under Section 417(e)(3), and the 24-month average segment rates under Section 430(h)(2) ... In addition, this notice provides guidance as to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury securities under Section 417(e)(3)(A)(ii)(II) as in effect for plan years beginning before 2008 and the 30-year Treasury weighted average rate under Section 431(c)(6)(E)(ii)(I)." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Guidance Overview] DOL Green-Lights Disability Claims Regs
"The regulations will apply to most -- but not all -- claims where benefits are conditioned on a finding of disability. This may include certain benefits under retirement plans, in addition to benefits under long-term disability plans and some short-term disability plans.... [T]here are significant exceptions where the regulations will not apply.... A chart [comparing current law with] the new regulations is provided[.]" (Vorys)
[Guidance Overview] The Impact of Tax Reform on Qualified Plans and Fringe Benefits
"[1] Are there changes to the plan loan rollover rules? ... [2] What favorable tax treatment is available for plan distributions to individuals living in 2016 disaster areas? ... [3] Are there any changes to the plan hardship distribution rules? ... [4] What happened to Rothification? ... [5] Fringe benefits are generally excluded from an employee's income. Are there any changes to these rules? ... [6] Does the Act change the tax treatment or deduction of meals provided to employees for the convenience of the employer?" (Drinker Biddle)
Frequently Asked Questions About 401(k) Plans: The Basics
"What is a 401(k) plan and how does it work? ... Are 403(b) and 457 plans similar to 401(k) plans? ... What are the benefits of investing in a 401(k) plan? What is an employer match? What is vesting? Is there a limit to how much an employee and employer can contribute to a 401(k) plan? What is a catch-up contribution and who is eligible? What happens if an employee or employer contributes more than the 401(k) plan limit? Can participants borrow from their 401(k) plan accounts? ... What happens if an employee can't repay a 401(k) loan? What are the disadvantages to a 401(k) loan? What are hardship withdrawals? What are the disadvantages of a hardship withdrawal? When can a participant begin drawing down a 401(k) plan? ... Why do required minimum distributions exist?" (Investment Company Institute [ICI])
IRS Asking for Taxpayer Representatives' Personal Information
"Taxpayer representatives are now being asked for their Social Security number and date of birth, in addition to their Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number, so that IRS agents can verify their identity when they call the IRS. The new questions result from an updated version of Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Section, which took effect Jan. 3.... Although the new IRM section is not yet available on the IRS's website, its existence has been verified by IRS personnel. The IRS says it plans to communicate the changes to practitioners in the near future." (Journal of Accountancy)
Employees Want Financial Education About More Than Retirement Savings
"[E]mployees across the board say education on a variety of financial matters is needed, rather than just the limited amount of topics typically offered from employers. Some of these issues included how to obtain life insurance, with 81% of employees voting for more education compared to 68% of employers; and how to obtain disability insurance (84% of workers along with 71% of plan sponsors)." (PLANSPONSOR)
[Official Guidance] PBGC Now Accepting 2018 Premium Filings
"My PAA is now ready to accept electronic premium filings for plan years beginning in 2018. In addition, if you have the plan in your My PAA account... you can submit an online Request for Reconsideration (of penalty) or a Request for a Premium Refund (by the PA/PA Rep). For additional information, see the following pages [on the PBGC website]: [1] Premium Filing Instructions & Addresses, [2] What's New in My PAA (January 2018) & Ongoing Reminders, [3] My PAA Online Demonstrations, and [4] the Online Premium Filing with My PAA page (for FAQs, My PAA User's Manual, etc.)." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
[Guidance Overview] 2018 Changes in IRS VCP User Fees: Winners and Losers
"It is easier to find losers than winners: [1] Small plans covering fewer than 101 participants paid $500 or $750 under the 2017 schedule and will now pay at least $1,500, or $3,000 if the plan assets are over $500,000, under the 2018 schedule. [2] Plans with minimum required distribution failures for 300 or fewer participants will pay at least twice as much as last year.... [3] Bargain user fees of $375, $500, or half the old generally applicable fee for nonamender submissions are a thing of the past." (Conduent)
[Guidance Overview] Why the New IRS VCP Fees Are Bad for Small Business, TPAs, and Retirement Plans
"Why the change to an asset-based schedule? No idea. There is no explanation in the Rev. Proc. and the IRS Employee Plans newsletter was equally silent. The initial break point of $500,000 is seemingly arbitrary. In a review of all VCP submissions prepared by our firm in 2017, a whopping 86% of our clients would have been harmed by this change.... [T]he new fee schedule benefits large plans significantly, despite the harm it does to small employers." (Ferenczy Benefits Law Center)
How Tax Reform Changed IRA Recharacterizations
"Under the new rules, your list of recharacterization options has been trimmed from four to two. As of January 1, 2018, ... [you] may no longer recharacterize a Roth IRA conversion, from any source. It is now a one-way transaction without an 'undo' feature.... You can continue to recharacterize a regular current year IRA contribution by your tax return due date, plus extensions." (Ascensus)
Fourth Circuit: District Court Misapplied ERISA Preemption Principles in Taft-Hartley Fund Dispute
"[T]he Fourth Circuit concluded that ... The state-law claims were not preempted, and the case should have proceeded as a breach of contract suit.... [T]he Fourth Circuit determined that the district court treated conflict preemption and complete preemption as opposing choices. The Fourth Circuit noted, however, that the jurisdictional issue implicating complete preemption was not present in this case." [Greenbrier Hotel Corp. v. UNITE HERE HEALTH, No. 16-2116 (4th Cir. Jan. 3, 2018)] (Thomson Reuters Westlaw)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Modification of User Fees for VCP Submissions Will Negatively Impact Small Plans
"[For] a small 401(k) plan with 25 participants and $1,000,000 in net plan assets [a] VCP submission filed on December 28, 2017 would have required a user fee of $750 ... while a submission filed on or after January 2, 2018 will require a user fee of $3,000 (a 400% increase).... The self-correction program (SCP) under EPCRS is still available, with no user fee, to correct certain operational errors." (FIS Relius)
DOL Issues Annual Adjustments to Penalties for 2018
"[T]he increased penalty levels apply to any penalties assessed after January 2, 2018.... For the failure or refusal to file an annual report, up to $2,140 per day, up from $2,097; ... For the failure of a multiple employer welfare arrangement to file a report, up to $1,558 per day, up from $1,527; For the failure to provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage, up to $1,128 per failure, up from $1,105[.]" (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
401(k) Plan Data: Can It Be Hacked?
"Every services agreement should deal with this issue and provide basic protections.... Does your vendor automatically encrypt data? Who has access to the data? Does your vendor have external review of its procedures? How quickly will your vendor notify you of a breach, and how will it assist in fixing it? Does your services agreement give you the right to audit the vendor's procedures? Does your services agreement provide that the vendor will indemnify you if there is a breach?" (Carol Buckmann, via 401kTV)
DB Plan Compliance Calendar 2018 (PDF)
A qualified retirement plan must meet various requirements throughout the year in order to retain the qualified status. The dates on this calendar pertain to a plan with a calendar plan year (with off-calendar due dates in parentheses). (Watkins Ross)
EPCU Compliance Project Summary: Data Analysis -- Validation of Missing Pension Feature Codes
"We identified a population where the pension feature code(s) were missing, inconsistent or incomplete on Line 8a of the Form 5500, line 9a of the Form 5500-SF, and Form 5500-EZ line 8 for plan years ending in 2010. We will correspond with the sponsors of the identified plans and request that the sponsors tell us which pension feature codes apply to their plans by annotating the appropriate codes on a list included with our correspondence. The letter will inform plan sponsors how to amend their returns to include pension feature codes. Our primary goal is to correct and verify the pension feature codes on the selected returns, so that we have useful information." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Rev. Rul. 2018-04: Covered Compensation Tables (PDF)
"This revenue ruling provides tables of covered compensation under section 401(l)(5)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code and the Income Tax Regulations thereunder, for the 2018 plan year. These tables of covered compensation reflect a revision to the taxable wage base for 2018 that was announced by the Social Security Administration on November 27, 2017, and apply in lieu of the tables that were provided in Revenue Ruling 2017-22[.]" (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Official Guidance] Text of 2018 PBGC Premium Payment Instructions (PDF)
65 pages. "The filing requirements for 2018 are almost identical to the filing requirements for 2017. Here are the key changes to note for 2018: [1] Changes in single-employer premium rates... [2] We expanded the examples in the section about how to determine premiums in a year when a plan is involved with a Spinoff, Merger or Consolidation. [3] We expanded the section about short plan years to provide additional information for plans expecting to distribute assets during the 2018 plan year pursuant to a standard termination. [4]We added a list of common filing errors and provided details about those errors in a new Appendix." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
Final PBGC Rule for Locating Missing Participants Gives Terminating DC Plans More Options
"The PBGC will pay out benefits with interest when participants are found, and allow the terminated DC plans to stop establishing [IRAs] for the balances owed to participants who can't be located ... The changes also should make it easier for participants to search for missing benefits accrued in a newly terminated plan and to claim them, although it will be several months before new missing-participant names are added to the existing online directory[.]" (HR Daily Advisor)
[Official Guidance] Text of EBSA News Release Announcing April 1, 2018 Applicability Date for Final Rule Amending Claims Procedure for Disability Benefit Plans
"[The DOL] announced [on January 5] its decision for April 1, 2018, as the applicability date for employee benefit plans to comply with a final rule under [ERISA] that will give America's workers new procedural protections when dealing with plan fiduciaries and insurance providers who deny their claims for disability benefits.... The Department received approximately 200 comment letters ... The information provided in the comments did not establish that the final rule imposes unnecessary regulatory burdens or significantly impairs workers' access to disability insurance benefits." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])
[Official Guidance] Text of 2017 IRS Form 5329: Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts (PDF)
"If you only owe the additional 10% tax on early distributions, you may be able to report this tax directly on Form 1040, line 59, or Form 1040NR, line 57, without filing Form 5329." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
401(k) Trends for 2018
"[1] Inclusion of HSA information in 401k employee education sessions ... [2] Addition of [socially responsible investing] information/investments ... [3] Understanding your fiduciary responsibilities ... [4] Incorporation of behavioral economics/finance elements in plan design ... [5] Addition of annual re-enrollment ... [6] Stretching matching contributions ... [7] New limitations on loans ... [8] Selection of the right QDIA ... [9] Addition of participant investment advice ... [10] Use of specialized 401k investment advisers ... [11] Continuing emphasis on financial wellness education." (Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants)
Mitigating Factors in Calculating a 403(b) Plan's Maximum Payment Amount Under CAP
"There are formally 10 different factors under EPCRS which the IRS takes into account when proposing the sanction amount. One of those elements ... is the 'Maximum Payment Amount' (the MPA).... This number in the 401(a) world can be a very large number -- even for a small plan -- especially when taken over a number of years. But it's interesting to see the effect on a 403(b) plan going through this process:" (National Tax-Deferred Savings Association [NTSA])
Will the Association Health Plans Regs Open the Door for 'Association MEPs'?
"It is highly unlikely that the DOL will be able to hold the line now against MEPs formed through associations meeting the criteria outlined [in the proposed regulations], or what I call 'AMEPS' (for 'Association MEPs'),... [T]here are likely to be a number of changes to the proposed regs before they become final, and there really are a number of issues related to the proposal which need to be answered.... [At] the very least, it does give us a strong basis to advocate the same treatment for association MEPS as AHPs. And for this, no statutory change would be needed." (Business of Benefits)
[Guidance Overview] PBGC Final Regs Expand Coverage of the Missing Participants Program
"The final regulations: [1] Expand the program to cover terminated defined contribution plans, small professional service defined benefit plans with 25 or fewer participants, and multiemployer plans covered by Title IV. The expanded program is voluntary for defined contribution and small professional service plans. [2] Streamline and reduce the burdens of the program for terminated single-employer defined benefit plans, which were already covered under the program." (Thomson Reuters Practical Law)
[Guidance Overview] How to Obtain or Re-Establish an EIN for a Retirement Plan Trust
"Retirement plan trustees shouldn't use the plan sponsor's EIN for their retirement plan trust.... To obtain an EIN for a retirement plan trust, the plan trustee or practitioner can either apply online, or mail or fax Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number to the IRS." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Guidance Overview] IRS Reduces Fees to Encourage Employers to File VCPs for Qualified Plan Errors
"The new VCP fees are based on the assets of the plan instead of its participants and are capped at $3,500.... Note that certain types of errors were previously eligible for reduced VCP fees. For example, a VCP covering only a small number of loan failures for non-key employees was eligible for a reduced fee of as little as $300. Most of these special fees have now been eliminated so that the [new fee schedule] will apply to most VCPs." (Mazursky Constantine LLC)
The Plan Committee: Should You Have One?
"Committees focus attention on key plan matters.... Two heads are better than one.... Committees establish accountability.... Committees make plans better.... Committees make things easier.... Committees reduce exposure to liability." (Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC)
When an HSA-First Strategy Makes Sense
"Many -- perhaps most -- articles about health savings accounts suggest that employees with an HSA who participate in a 401(k) plan should first contribute to the 401(k) plan the percentage of their compensation that enables them to obtain the maximum plan sponsor match ... [and] then max out their HSA account contributions through payroll deductions. Once that's done, they should go back to contributing any additional dollars to their 401(k) plans. While this strategy is indeed attractive, an even better one would be to change the sequence of the contributions. That is, employees should first max out contributions to their HSAs no matter their tax bracket, and once that's done, contribute to their 401(k) plans." (Morningstar)
Wall Street Aims to Thwart a Hacking Nightmare for Your 401(k)
"U.S. financial firms plan to expand a secretive project protecting bank accounts against crippling cyber attacks ... The industry-led project, called Sheltered Harbor, already is known to back up data for savings and checking accounts. But quietly, it's wrapping in data on retail brokerage accounts at some of the nation's largest firms ... And ultimately, the goal is to expand it to an even heftier pool of 401(k) accounts and pension funds, whose breach could upend global markets." (Bloomberg)
New Year Brings New, Lower VCP User Fees
"Lowering the price barrier to participation in VCP is a positive for plan sponsors. Obtaining a compliance statement from IRS through the program is the equivalent of insurance against penalties and interest that would be assessed if the plan problems were discovered on audit." (E is for ERISA)
How Digital Tools and Behavioral Economics Will Save Retirement
"[T]he digital space allows us to conduct research much faster, as we test out multiple designs to see which one works best. Instead of waiting years to see if an intervention is effective, we can often get results in days or weeks.... [T]he digital world offers unprecedented scale: by fixing a single website or app, we can potentially help millions of people make better financial decisions." (Shlomo Benartzi, in Harvard Business Review)
Annual Tax Withholding Notice Takes on Heightened Importance for 2018
"For 2018, there is increased importance to provide an annual notice of withholding election to retirees and beneficiaries based upon the changes in individual income tax rates resulting from the federal tax bill ... [B]ecause there were changes to the tax rates and the brackets of taxable income to which the rates apply, it will be important for individuals to consider whether they want to change their withholding in order to align their withholding with the changes in the tax law." (Ice Miller LLP)
The Impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Employee and Fringe Benefits
"How will the Act's repeal of the [ACA] individual mandate affect employers? ... What changes does the Act make to Qualified Transportation Benefits and Qualified Bicycle Commuting Reimbursements? ... Does the Act do anything to help victims of natural disasters? ... How does the Act change the rules governing plan loans from a qualified retirement plan?" (Mintz Levin)
[Guidance Overview] Hurricane Relief for Participants in Puerto Rico Retirement Plans
"The relief is particularly relevant for sponsors of 401(k)-type plans qualified under Puerto Rico law. Sponsors of dual-qualified plans will also need to comply with applicable requirements for distributions and loans under the U.S. tax code and the hurricane relief provided by the IRS. Sponsors that decide to make use of the special relief will need to change their administrative procedures and amend their plans by December 31, 2018." (Willis Towers Watson)
How Can Fiduciaries Use New Tax Cuts to Nudge 401(k) and IRA Retirement Savers?
"Plan sponsors can take actions that will help nudge their employees towards a more comfortable retirement.... The two best ways to implement a higher savings rate would be to amend the plan to add for an auto increase in the plan and the second is for retirement plan advisers to prepare an education meeting demonstrating how an increased savings rate can have little no impact on an employee's take home pay.... [T]he change in tax rates, at least as long as they remain, may make after-tax savings more attractive than tax-deferred savings." (Fiduciary News)
[Guidance Overview] PBGC Issues Final Regs for Handling Accounts in Terminating Defined Contribution Plans
"The IRS has confirmed that ... amounts transferred from terminating defined contribution plans to the PBGC under the Program will not be treated as taxable distributions subject to reporting and withholding. The DOL has indicated that it intends to review its existing regulations on Safe Harbor for Distributions from Individual Account Plans and Termination of Abandoned Individual Account Plans, both of which provide for distributions to individual retirement plans, to consider transfers to the PBGC under the Program as an appropriate action in such circumstances." (The Wagner Law Group)
Update on Washington State's Retirement Marketplace
"Official launch of [the] Retirement Marketplace is drawing near, and with it, help for Washingtonians to comparison shop for low-cost retirement plans.... [The State Department of Commerce has] five plans from two providers verified for the Retirement Marketplace.... As soon as they're loaded and tested, Washington's Retirement Marketplace will be live and available to the public." (Washington State Department of Commerce)
Five Plan Sponsor Resolutions for 2018
"[1] I will review the documents sent by my vendor before we send them out.... [2] I will understand the provisions of my plan.... [3] I will consult advisers when I need them.... [4] I will know the deadlines for taking important actions ... [5] I will document our plan decisions." (Cohen & Buckmann, P.C.)
[Guidance Overview] New Tax Law Enhances Participant Loan Rollovers
"[A] qualifying participant who desires to defer taxes on the maximum amount of distributions by rolling over all of his or her distributed account in a plan ... will now have significantly more time to accumulate from other sources an amount equal to the accrued and outstanding unpaid principal and interest on any plan loan that was earlier extended to him or her and treated as an offset and then pay and roll over such amount to another qualifying plan or IRA." (Jackson Lewis P.C.)
[Guidance Overview] Annual IRS Revenue Procedure Includes Surprising Drop in Certain User Fees
"[IRS Rev. Proc. 2018-1] updates procedures for requesting rulings, determinations, and other guidance from the IRS.... For many VCP filings, the new fees are significantly lower than in the past. Instead of fees based on the number of participants and capped at $15,000, the new fee schedule is based on plan assets and caps out at $3,500 (for a plan with over $10 million in assets)." (Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center)
Defined Contribution Plan Compliance Calendar, 2018 (PDF)
"The dates on this calendar pertain to a plan with a calendar plan year." (Watkins Ross)
[Guidance Overview] ERISA Civil Penalties: Annual Adjustments for 2018
Chart lists the various statutory provisions, with a description of each ERISA violation and its penalty amounts for 2017 and 2018. (Butterfield Schechter LLP)
[Guidance Overview] New PBGC Options to Deal with Missing Participants in Terminated Plans
"There is no tax liability when the benefits are transferred to the PBGC. PBGC will pay interest on the amounts at the IRS mid-term rate, eliminating concern about how to invest the assets. PBGC will maintain a comprehensive searchable database as a resource for participants. PBGC will even make annuity payouts available to participants whose accounts exceed $5000, even if the plan did not provide for annuity options." (Cohen & Buckmann, P.C.)
2017 Annual Report of the PBGC Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate (PDF)
44 pages. "New to this report ... is a pension de-risking study commissioned by the Office of the Advocate at the request of plan sponsors. The study focuses on PBGC and Congressional actions that may slow pension de-risking activity, and highlights the drivers and causes of de-risking. This study found that reducing PBGC single-employer premium levels or stemming their rapid growth is likely to decrease risk transfer activity." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])

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