Retirement Plans Newsletter

November 23, 2016

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Pension Plan Administrator
Growing Retirement Plan Administration Firm
in NY

Director of Business Development
Conrad Siegel Actuaries
in PA

Retirement Benefits Compliance Specialist
AmeriBen/IEC Group
in ID

Pension Administrator
EZ Pension Services, LLC
in NY

Supervisor Plan Regulatory Services
OneAmerica
in IN

Document and Design Specialist
OneAmerica
in IN

Plan Solutions Consultant Sr.
OneAmerica
in IN

Relationship Manager
Newport Group
in CA

Principal, Compensation Consulting
Newport Group
in FL, IL, MN, NC, WI

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Webcasts and Conferences

Small But Mighty: Annuitization Services for Sponsors and Advisers of Small DB Plans
RECORDED
Dietrich & Associates, Inc.

Cash Balance Plans: Removing the Mystery
November 30, 2016 WEBCAST
NIPA [National Institute of Pension Administrators]

ERISA Fiduciary Update: Best Practices From Industry Professionals
December 13, 2016 in WI
Husch Blackwell

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Workshop
December 13, 2016 in CA
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

13th Annual Employers and Payers Forum: Rewarding Healthy Behaviors
February 7, 2017 in AZ
World Congress

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Proposed Regs: Update to Minimum Present Value Requirements for DB Plan Distributions
"The proposed regulations would update the existing regulatory provisions to reflect the statutory changes made by PPA '06, including the new interest rates and mortality tables set forth in section 417(e)(3) and the exception from the valuation rules for certain applicable defined benefit plans set forth in section 411(a)(13). The proposed regulations clarify that the interest rates that are published by the Commissioner pursuant to the provisions as modified by PPA '06 are to be used without further adjustment.... [T]he proposed regulations make conforming changes to reflect the final regulations under section 417(e) that permit defined benefit plans to simplify the treatment of certain optional forms of benefit that are paid partly in the form of an annuity and partly in a more accelerated form."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Memorandum to TE/GE Examiners: New Process for Information Document Requests (PDF)
"The examiner will mail initial contact letters listed in the Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) to notify a taxpayer and POA when a return is selected for examination.... After 10 business days have elapsed, the examiner may then initiate contact with the taxpayer or POA by telephone.... The examiner will call the [taxpayer] to discuss the issue being examined and the items being requested on the [Information Document Request (IDR)].... Prior to mailing the IDR, the examiner and the taxpayer should agree on the response date ... If they cannot agree on a response date, the examiner will assign a reasonable response date.... If the taxpayer did not respond or if the response was not complete, the examiner must determine within 5 business days if an extension will be granted.... The first extension may be granted by the examiner.... If the taxpayer did not respond or if the response is still incomplete, the examiner may grant a second extension for up to 15 business days, but only after discussion with the manager and with the manager's approval.... If the information is not received after the second extension, the examiner will begin the Enforcement Process." [Control no. 04-1116-0028, Nov. 21, 2016]
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Tightens Plan Examination Process with New Rules for Plan Sponsors and IRS Examiners
"[The new IRS Memorandum centers] on the timing of the 'Information Document Requests' (IDR), which are central to an audit. The IDR is the manner in which the IRS collects the plan and employer information necessary to conduct the audit. The process has been relatively fluid in the past.... This is now changing, for both the plan sponsor and the examiner.... These new procedures appear to be aimed at instilling more discipline into the examination process."
Business of Benefits

DOL Investigating Timely Payment of Pensions to Terminated Vested Participants Nationwide (PDF)
"[T]rustees should consider taking steps now to help ensure that they will not be caught off-guard if they receive a notice for one of these investigations.... [1] Determine whether the plan has the necessary data to identify the terminated vested participants ... who are about to about to become or who already are eligible for payment.... [2] Notify terminated vested participants who are about to become eligible for payment at NRA or to be required to start payment at age 70-1/2 ... [3] Inform terminated vested participants who are at or who have passed their required age 70-1/2 payment date that their payments must begin, and take steps to initiate payment as soon as possible.... [4] Investigate the treatment of uncashed checks under the plan."
Segal Consulting

Are HR Employees 'Investment Advisors' under the DOL Fiduciary Rule?
"So long as an employee receives no additional compensation for the advice-related activities above and beyond his or her normal salary, an HR employee should be able to explain plan options to participants without incurring ERISA fiduciary liability.... On the other hand, an employee whose job description included assisting plan participants in selecting investment options in a self-directed 401(k) plan probably would be considered an ERISA fiduciary."
Thompson Coburn

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Wishing you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving

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As we give thanks this weekend, all of us at BenefitsLink wish to thank you -- our news sources, advertisers and 28,000 daily readers -- who have made it possible to bring our newsletters, employee benefits job openings, message boards, search engine, and web site to you without charge for nearly 22 years. Enjoy the long weekend, and we'll see you again on Monday!


The Interplay Between Retirement Plan Funding Policies, Contribution Volatility, and Funding Risk (PDF)
22 presentation slides. "Goal: Evaluate and quantify risk of severe underfunding and of large increases in employer contributions (ERC) under different funding policies.... Findings: [1] Commonly used funding methods can exacerbate the risks of severe underfunding and of large increases in contributions by government employers. [2] No easy way out: de-risking almost certainly requires higher contributions."
Rockefeller Institute of Government

California Supreme Court Will Review Major Public Pension Ruling
"The court of appeal's August ruling amounted to a major change in California pensions law, scholars said.... For decades, California courts have ruled that state and local employees were entitled to the pension that was in place on the day they were hired. Pensions could be cut for current employees only if an equivalent benefit were added, making it difficult for governments to cut costs. If upheld, the ruling could be a vehicle for reducing a shortfall of hundreds of billions of dollars in public pensions in California."
Los Angeles Times

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

Wells Fargo Must Now Get Permission Before Handing Executives 'Golden Parachutes'
"Federal regulators are moving to make it more difficult for Wells Fargo to make executive changes or give departing executives departure packages ... Wells Fargo will be required to get agency approval for changes in directors and senior executive officers, and for any golden parachute payments, the [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)] said. An OCC spokesman declined to comment on why the agency decided to rescind its decision to waive the restrictions."
The Washington Post; subscription may be required

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2016 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

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