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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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March 19, 2002 - 12,334 subscribers
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Web Site Announces Availability of New Database Showing Clients of Financial Institutions
Press release. Excerpt: "The new resource [on freeERISA.com] is the Provider/Client database. This database links financial institutions to their clients providing a virtual 'Who Has the Business.' The source of this information is the Schedule D of the Form 5500." (freeERISA.com)

Mutual Funds Association Urges States to Conform Income Tax Codes to EGTRRA Changes
Excerpt: "The [Investment Company] Institute and the Securities Industry Association (SIA) are sending joint letters to state officials in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin urging their state legislatures to adopt promptly changes to their state tax codes in order to bring their ... provisions into conformity with the changes made to the Internal Revenue Code, as amended by [EGTRRA]." (Investment Company Institute)

One-Person 401(k) Plan Becomes Attractive
Excerpt: "Did you know that a firm as small as one-person can establish a 401(k)? This is not a new phenomenon. It just never made sense under the old tax law. However, recent changes in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 have made the 401(k) much more attractive for these small employers." (Marietta [Oh.] Times)

When Defined Benefit Plan Assets Runneth Over
Originally published January 2001. Excerpt: "Although tax law changes have greatly discouraged companies from terminating overfunded pension plans and pocketing leftover money, plan sponsors are looking for-- and finding-- ways to use these excess assets more strategically.... There are five ways companies can make use of pension plan surpluses without incurring enormous tax penalties ..." (BusinessFinanceMag.com)

Another Question is Answered in the Who's the Employer Q&A Column
If five or fewer individuals collectively own more than 50% of a corporation (exclusive of stock held in an ESOP) then is the ESOP stock excluded from the calculation to determine a controlled group? Without the ESOP four people own 80% in my situation, but when I attribute the ESOP stock and include the ESOP in the test, they only own 75%. Which way is right? (BenefitsLink.com)

Overview: Withholding State Income Taxes From Pension and Annuity Payments (PDF)
Brief overview, with link to CIGNA's latest State Withholding Information Sheet. (CIGNA's Pension Analyst)

House Committee Approves Bill Amending Federal Thrift Savings Plan to Allow Catch-Up Contributions
Excerpt: "Under the Catch-Up Contributions for All Act, H.R. 3340, federal employees age 50 or over would be able to make up to $2,000 in so-called 'catch-up' contributions on top of the contributions they make under normal TSP rules.... The maximum limit on extra contributions for employees age 50 or older would rise to $3,000 in 2004, $4,000 in 2005 and $5,000 in 2006. After 2006, the extra contributions limit for people age 50 or older would remain at $5,000 above the normal limit." (GovExec.com)

(Following items are in both editions of the BenefitsLink Newsletter)

GM Chief Executive Says Healthcare Costs, Pension Funding Drag Down Stock Price
Excerpt: "Despite recent U.S. market share gains and a rosier earnings outlook, General Motors Corp. still has two clouds looming over its balance sheet and stock price. They are rising health care costs and an under-funded pension fund, GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said Monday." (Detroit News)

Analysis: the ERISA Claims Procedure Odyssey Continues (PDF)
Originally published October 2001. Excerpt: "[R]ecently the DOL delayed the effective date [of the new claims procedure regulations] for health plans to the first day of the plan year beginning after July 1, 2002, but not later than January 1, 2003. Retirement plans and other welfare plans (such as severance or life insurance plans) will require only minor revisions under the rules." (Gardner Carton & Douglas)

Opinion: Coke Lowers Bar for CEO to Earn Free Stock
Excerpt: "Coca-Cola Co. has thrust Chief Executive Officer Douglas Daft into at least the semi-finals of the high jump in what I like to call the Executive Compensation Olympics.... But if a CEO hits the bar, he doesn't go anywhere. Rather, the bar is lowered to five feet and he is invited to try again. If necessary, the bar is lowered further and further." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)

Description of Revenue Provisions in the President's Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Proposal - Full Text (PDF)
178 pages. (Joint Committee on Taxation)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Employee Benefits Attorney for Thompson Hine LLP
in DC
Director of Pension Plan Administration/Actuarial for SDG Consulting
in MA
Pension Administrator for Associated Pension Consultants
in CA
H&W System Implementation Specialist for Towers Perrin
in NY
Health & Welfare Employee Benefits Sales Rep for Superior Benefit Plans LLC
in PA
Benefits Manager for RMH Teleservices
in PA
ERISA Document Specialist for National Retirement Services, Inc. (NRS) - Seal Beach Office
in CA
Internal Wholesaler - Recordkeeping for Redwood Administrators, Inc.
in NJ
Assistant Employee Benefits Administrator for The National Bank & Trust Company of Sycamore
in IL

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Employer Stock Investments: What To Do After Enronin NY on April 18, 2002
presented by NYC Chapter of WEB
U.S. Defined Contribution Plans Overview Coursein PA on May 20, 2002
presented by Society of Professional Administrators and Recordkeepers

Newly Posted Press Releases
Health Care Management Among Top Benefit Concerns Covered in New Book (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)
Commerce National Insurance Services Selects vSimplify To Cross-Sell Financial and Insurance Products (vSimplify)
vSimplify Partners with MKTech As Exclusive Canadian Distributor: Software Firm Leverages vSimplify's Web-Based Worksite Marketing Platform To Cross-Sell Insurance and Financial Services (vSimplify)
SIMPLE Illustrator Software Released (GSL Galactic Consulting)

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Copyright 2002 BenefitsLink.com, Inc., but you may freely distribute this email newsletter in whole. This newsletter is edited by David Rhett Baker, J.D.