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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Retirement Plans Edition
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August 15, 2002 - 11,391 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)

IRS Publishes Restated List of GUST-Approved Master & Prototype, Volume Submitter Plan Documents (PDF)
196 pages. Excerpt (from the www.irs/ep website): "This list contains the M&P and VS plans that were submitted to the Service for GUST opinion or advisory letters by December 31, 2000 ... The list includes the name of the M&P or VS sponsor, the file folder number or VS serial number assigned to each plan, and the plan type of each plan submitted. The list also includes the date of the GUST opinion or advisory letter for those M&P and VS plans that have been approved to date ..." (Internal Revenue Service)

How To Use the IRS List of GUST-Approved Master & Prototype, Volume Submitter Plan Documents
Excerpt: "If the employer has adopted or certified its intent to adopt an M&P or VS plan, verify that the name of the M&P plan sponsor or VS practitioner appears on the list.... Determine the date of the last opinion or advisory letter issued to the sponsor/practitioner ... The 12-month period described in section 19 of Rev. Proc. 2000-20 does not begin to run until the last GUST opinion or advisory letter is issued to the sponsor/practitioner." (Internal Revenue Service)

GAO Finds Thousands of People Avoiding Social Security Offset Rule Through $3 Loophole
Excerpt: "In Texas, teachers typically worked a single day in a nonteaching position covered by Social Security ... [T]hese individuals ... typically paid a total of $3 in Social Security taxes.... [I]ndividuals with a relatively small investment of work time and only minimal Social Security contributions can gain access to potentially many years of full Social Security spousal benefits by using the GPO exemption." (U.S. General Accounting Office)

Overview: IRS Requests Comments on Phased Retirement, Eliminating Optional Forms of Distribution
Excerpt: "The IRS is concerned about whether phased retirement would increase the overall risk of retirees outliving their retirement savings.... A phased retirement arrangement that begins before normal retirement age does not meet the current definition of 'retirement.' The IRS specifically requested comments on how phased retirement arrangements could be consistent with the policy goal that qualified pension plans provide benefits after retirement." (Watson Wyatt)

Overview: Senate Moves Forward on 401(k) Protections; Finance Committee Reports Out NESTEG Act
Excerpt: "On July 10, the Senate Finance Committee approved the National Employee Savings Trust and Equity Guarantee (NESTEG) Act (S.1971).... The bill now moves to the Senate floor, where it may be combined with elements of the Protecting America's Pensions Act [S.1992]. The House approved similar legislation, the Pension Security Act, in April ... but there are significant differences between the bills." (Watson Wyatt)

Full Text of NESTEG Act as Reported to the Senate (PDF)
158 pages. 'National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act." (U.S. Senate, Committee on Finance)

Full Text of Senate Finance Committee Report for NESTEG Act as Reported to the Senate (PDF)
76 pages. 'National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act." (U.S. Senate, Committee on Finance)

ERIC Files Supplemental Comments on Proposed 204(h) Notice Regulation (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "Q&A-6(b)(1) should be revised to make clear that a plan amendment does not reduce the rate of future benefit accrual where the amended plan provisions provide a normal retirement benefit that is equal to or greater than the normal retirement benefit provided by the old plan provisions.... [A phrase in the proposed regulation suggests] it is necessary to compare a participant's accruals on a year-by-year basis, rather than on an aggregate basis." (ERISA Industry Committee)

Another Question is Answered in the Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Q&A Column
I have worked for a railroad for over 40 years. For many years I have also been self-employed but my business is organized as an 'S' corporation. As I understand the regulations, I am considered to be an 'employee' of my 'S' corporation. If I continue my self-employment after retirement, my Railroad Retirement will be reduced. Am I correct? Can you explain the purpose of these unique restrictions that only apply to rail workers? Are they outdated in the 21st century? (BenefitsLink.com)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General
(These items appear in both editions of the BenefitsLink Newsletter)

American Benefits Council Points Out Broad-Based Nature of Many Stock Option Programs (PDF)
Excerpt: "The American Benefits Council, in the points discussed below, wishes to clarify the known data surrounding stock options, and in so doing, we reaffirm our belief that stock option ownership is broad-based." (American Benefits Council)

Accounting Board Proposes a New Rule on a Hot Topic: Stock Options
Excerpt: "The Financial Accounting Standards Board said yesterday that it would propose requiring that the values of options be disclosed in the footnotes of every quarterly financial statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission." (New York Times; free registration required)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Senior Relationship Manager/Retirement Plan Services for Large Midwestern Bank
in NE
Group Medical Sales for i2 Advisors
in IN
Retirement Plan Analyst - Compliance for Invesmart
in TX
Benefits Administrator for Coty & Bruce Benefits, Inc.
in CA
Inside Sales Desk Manager for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA
Actuary for Benetech, Inc.
in CA
Senior Health Benefits Analyst for Segal Company, employee benefits & human resources consulting
in NY

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Editor and Publisher: David Rhett Baker, J.D.