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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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June 4, 2002 - 11,383 subscribers
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(Help BenefitsLink to provide this newsletter at no charge to you -- our sponsors pay our way. Remember to visit them periodically; we try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Social Security Issue Rattling Races for Congress
Excerpt: "No other issue is generating more scrambling in this year's Congressional elections than Social Security and what Democrats assert is the looming threat of privatization." (New York Times; free registration required)

Overview: Amendments Required by End of 2003 Plan Year to Reflect Final Minimum Distribution Regs
Excerpt: "Revenue Procedure 2002-29 requires qualified plans to be amended to reflect the final and temporary regulations under IRC §401(a)(9) no later than the last day of the 2003 plan year (i.e., the plan year beginning in 2003). For calendar year plans, this means a deadline of December 31, 2003. For noncalendar year plans, this means a deadline ending in 2004 ..." (TRI Pension Services)

Strategies to Tap Retirement Assets
Excerpt: "Generally, experts say it's a good idea to hit your taxable accounts first. That way your tax-deferred assets, including your 401(k) and IRAs, can continue to grow tax free." (AP via Yahoo! News)

Overview: Proposed Regulations Provide Comprehensive Guidance for Section 457 Plans
Excerpt: "The regulations include guidance on: (1) the deferral limits for 'eligible deferred compensation plans' described in IRC §457(b), (2) catch-up contributions for individuals who are at least 50 years old and who participate in a governmental section 457(b) plan that allows for these catch-up contributions, (3) the special catch-up limit for participants who are within the last 3 years before normal retirement age ..." (TRI Pension Services)

Overview: House Approves Increase In Plan Deposit Insurance Coverage
6/03/02 item. Excerpt: "Deposit insurance reform legislation (H.R. 3717) passed by the House by a wide margin on May 22, 2002 ... The measure would increase deposit insurance protection from $100,000 to $130,000 for individual savings accounts, and would provide coverage of up to $260,000 for certain retirement accounts, such as IRAs, 401(k) plans, Keogh plans, and Code Sec. 457 plans." (CCH News & Information Library)

Overview: Participant Plan Loan Repayments Are Plan Assets
DOL Advisory Opinion 2002-02A (May 17, 2002). Excerpt: "In this advisory opinion, the DOL takes the position that untimely remittance of loan repayments--and a prohibited transaction--occurs if loan repayments are made later than would be permitted under the participant contribution regulation ... The employer should not use those repayments for its own purposes. If it does, it is subject to excise taxes and other adverse consequences for engaging in a prohibited transaction." (EBIA Weekly)

Overview: Reduced Penalty and Qualification Relief for Plans Not Timely Amended for GUST
Excerpt: "The streamlined procedures require: (1) the adoption of GUST amendments, (2) submission of the amendment for a determination letter by September 3, 2002 (the day after the Labor Day holiday), and (3) payment of a special fee, which is in addition to the otherwise applicable user fee that must accompany the determination letter request." (TRI Pension Services)

Another Question is Answered in the Who's the Employer Q&A Column
I used to be a W-2 employee. My employer told me that I am now a 1099 independent contractor. The work performed will not change. I will continue to take direction from the employer as to what work is to be performed and on what basis of priority it is to be performed. I will keep my office but I can work from home if I like and I may also set my own hours (within the framework of impending deadlines). So, am I really an independent contractor, or just another 'employee' in disguise? (BenefitsLink.com)

Another Question is Answered in the Who's the Employer Q&A Column
How does Rev. Proc. 2002-21 affect a worker's status as a leased employee? (BenefitsLink.com)

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

Overview: DOL Issues More Guidance on Claims Procedure Regulations
Excerpt: "[T]he DOL [recently] issued more guidance regarding its new claims procedure regulations. The regulations, first issued in November 2000, became applicable on January 1, 2002 for all plans except group health plans. Group health plans have a later applicability date: the first day of the first plan year beginning on or after July 1, 2002, but not later than January 1, 2003." (EBIA Weekly)

Commentary: Working to Retire Overcompensation
Excerpt: "Shareholders and corporate activists have been complaining for years about runaway executive pay. But in 2002--the year of Enron, E-Trade and Ebbers--the voices for change finally are finding an audience." (Los Angeles Times via Society for Human Resource Management)

Commentary: a Prime Example of Anything-Goes Executive Pay
Excerpt: "Even as a boom in executive pay brought vast wealth to nearly every person running a large American company, L. Dennis Kozlowski still stood out.... Mr. Kozlowski persuaded his board to give him hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of cash, stock and perquisites. Now, with the rapid decline of his reputation, culminating in his departure yesterday as the chief executive of Tyco International, Mr. Kozlowski has come to highlight nearly every controversy surrounding executive pay." (New York Times; free registration required)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Trust Administrator for CNA Trust
in CA
Pension Paralegal for NYC Midtown Consulting Firm
in NY
Employee Benefits Manager for Tektronix
in OR
Pension Administrators for Polycomp Administrative Services, Inc.
in CA
Pension Consultant for The Heintzberger Company
in OR
Senior Benefits Analyst for US Airways
in VA
Account Administrator II for American Express
in MN
Regional Sales Coordinator for Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc.
in MD

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
HIPAA is Here: Are You Ready?in MD on June 20, 2002
presented by The Baltimore Chapter of ISCEBS
Employee Benefits Conferencein NY on August 13, 2002
presented by New York State Society of CPAs/Foundation for Accounting Education
The Peril of COBRA Penalties, Providing More Coverage Than Intended and Applying the Business Acquisition Rulesin ALL STATES on June 19, 2002
presented by Thompson Publishing Group, Inc.

Newly Posted Press Releases
New no commission onlinestock purchase program,$3.99 stock trades (Portfolio Builder)

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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.