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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Publication 4810: Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits (PDF)

52 pages, rev. Nov. 2019. "The purpose of this publication is to provide the specifications for electronically filing Form 8955- SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits, with the [IRS]. This publication must be used to prepare current and prior year Form 8955- SSAs."

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]


FTW Webinar: Current Pension Developments with Sal Tripodi, 2 CEs

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

Join in December for a CE webinar: Current Developments Affecting Retirement Plan Matters! Sal Tripodi of TRI Pension Services will review important current developments and how they affect plan design and administration. Register now Learn more

[Official Guidance]

Text of Instructions for IRS Form 1098-Q: Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contract Information (PDF)

"File Form 1098-Q, Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contract Information, if you issue any contract that is intended to be a qualifying longevity annuity contract (QLAC). Prior to annuitization, the value of a QLAC is excluded from the account balance that is used to determine required minimum distributions." [Rev. Dec. 2019]

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Form 4461-A: Application for Approval of Standardized or Nonstandardized Pre-Approved Defined Benefit Plan (PDF)

"Form 4461-A is used to apply for approval of standardized or nonstandardized pre-approved defined benefit plans." [Rev. Nov. 2019]

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Form 14568: Model VCP Compliance Statement (PDF)

"Attach additional pages, as needed. Label the attachment 'Section II. Applicant's Description of Failures.' List and number each failure separately." [Rev. Nov. 2019]

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Reporting 'Orphaned' Participants on Form 5500

"PBGC has found a majority of multiemployer funds do not provide this information accurately -- if at all. Aside from the current counting method in place, PBGC is proposing an option of using two other methods. PBGC anticipates that providing funds with three optional counting methods will allow them to choose one that will be most accurate and least burdensome to correctly count and report their inactive participants."

First Actuarial Consulting Team [FACT]

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick IRS Proposes Update to Minimum Required Distribution Rules

"[T]he annual required distribution amounts will typically decline by an average of 3% to 10%, depending on the age of the individual, and if applicable, the age of the beneficiary.... The proposed effective date of the regulations is January 1, 2021."

Groom Law Group

Prudent Process by Retirement Committee Defeats DOL Fiduciary Breach Suit

"[A] Pennsylvania federal court ruled that the [DOL] was wrong in its insistence that retirement committee members were liable under ERISA for failing to monitor the committee's investment manager.... The court expressed that once a committee has prudent procedures in place, the committee is not obligated to do more than is required by those procedures.... The DOL has traditionally promoted that it will examine fiduciary processes over the actual decisions that come out of those processes, and the court seemed to use this position to rule against the DOL. " [Scalia v. WPN Corp., No. 14-1494 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 30, 2019)]

Carlton Fields

At Oral Argument, Justices Grapple with Interplay between ERISA and Securities Laws

"Even when oral argument focused on the narrow question on which certiorari was granted -- did the alternative action pleaded in Jander pass Dudenhoeffer's 'more harm than good' test -- the Justices often returned to the broader issue of how an ERISA disclosure duty should interact with the federal securities laws.... But several Justices expressed deep concerns about the practical implications of Dudenhoeffer's 'more harm than good' test, pressing the parties to explain how such a duty could co-exist with the securities laws." [Jander v. Retirement Plans Committee of IBM, No. 17-3518 (2d Cir. Dec. 10, 2018; cert. pet. granted Jun. 3, 2019; oral arg. Nov. 6, 2019; transcript and audio recording)]

King & Spalding

For Employers: The Symbiosis Between Financial Professionals and TPAs

"Pending federal legislation that would make it possible for employers to join Open Multiple Employer Plans (MEPs) as [a] way to reduce the costs, administration and fiduciary responsibilities associated with sponsoring a retirement plan may make this symbiotic relationship even more important and prevalent.... So who brings what to the table? Where do the lines of demarcation between financial pros' and TPAs' duties, responsibilities and value start and end?"


White Paper on 'Multiemployer Pension Recapitalization and Reform Plan' (PDF)

13 pages. "The reforms are designed in a balanced way to avoid tipping more plans into a poorer funded condition, and also to avoid exposing taxpayers to the full risks associated with the largely under funded multiemployer system and pushing the PBGC into insolvency. Providing relief to critical and declining plans as part of the reforms is contingent on changes to the legal framework of the multiemployer pension system to ensure that the plans operate on a sound financial basis in the future." [Also available: press release and Technical Explanation (79 pages)]

Sen. Charles E. Grassley [R-IA], Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance; and Sen. Lamar Alexander [R-TN], Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Senators Introduce Proposal for Multiemployer Pension Rescue

"Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) ... released a proposal to rescue struggling multi-employer plans and the multi-employer arm of the PBGC itself, which is otherwise anticipated to become insolvent in 2025.... [T]he Multiemployer Pension Recapitalization and Reform Plan ... is a complex set of reforms intended to get the system past its current crisis and provide stability moving forward."

Elizabeth Bauer via Forbes

Interest Rates 2019: The Effect of Recent Declines on DC Plans

"[D]eclines in interest rates translate (more or less directly) into an increase in the current 'cost' of retirement savings.... [M]uch of the 'gains' that participants have seen in the value of their 401(k) accounts in the last two decades has been offset by this increase in the cost of future retirement income.... [F]or most participants, dependent on their retirement savings for retirement income, an annuity will provide the best solution to their retirement income challenge."

October Three Consulting


Pension Rights Center Asks DOL to Withdraw Electronic Disclosure Proposal

" 'The new DOL proposed regulation is a consumer nightmare,' says Karen Friedman, the executive vice president of the Pension Rights Center ... 'Instead of ensuring that people get the information that enables them to protect themselves, the agency has created an Alice in Wonderland scheme of electronic notifications that will have millions of workers and retirees and spouses scrambling down a rabbit hole of confusion to find documents -- they now may never find again.' "

Pension Rights Center


Senators Introduce Plan to Shore Up Failing Multiemployer Pension System

"[1] New monthly co-payments to PBGC for active workers and retirees. [2] Loosen standards for being able to partition. [3] Higher benefit guarantee level. [4] Much higher premiums ... [5] Federal bailout ... [6] Less phony actuarial assumptions. [7] Strengthen zone rules ...  [8] Add transparency to withdrawal liability calculations ...  [9] Reform reporting and disclosure requirements. [10] Allow hybrid plans -- to be called 'composite' plans."


Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

The Future of Retirement Plan Disclosures?

"Currently, plan sponsors can rely on a 2002 safe harbor for electronic delivery of documents and other information required under ERISA. However, the 2002 safe harbor is limited ... [P]lan sponsors may not rely on the proposed rule. Therefore, no changes should be made to current distribution procedures based on the new electronic disclosure rules at this time. [T]he proposed rule only applies to retirement plans -- so welfare plan disclosures (such as COBRA notices) would remain subject to the 2002 safe harbor."

Drinker Biddle

Planning for 2020: Year-End Deadlines and Considerations for Employee Retirement, Health and Welfare Plans

"As the end of the year approaches, employers should be aware of important year-end deadlines and considerations related to their retirement and health and welfare plans. [The authors] have compiled a list of these deadlines and provide guidance on how to comply with recent plan changes."

Husch Blackwell

Health and Pension Benefits for United Mine Workers of America Retirees: Recent Legislation

"Eligible UMWA members receive postretirement health and pension benefits from one of three multiemployer health benefit plans and one multiemployer pension plan. ...  Legislation in the 116th Congress would expand the eligibility for retiree health plans to receive federal transfers and authorize federal transfers to the UWMA pension plan."

Congressional Research Service [CRS]

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

ADP Testing: Changing from Prior Year to Current Year

"Prior year testing. Takeover plan. Plan excludes bonuses. Failed 414(s) for year ending 12/31/18. Used Total Compensation for the ADP Test for 12/31/2018. [1] This year, do we run the ADP test using Total Compensation for HCEs because the number we have for the NHCEs from last year was Total Compensation? [2] What's the rule for changing from Prior Year to Current Year, i.e., can we change, or is there a 5-year wait? ADP has been Prior Year for a long time. ACP has been Current Year and just changed to Prior Year last year."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Terminated Participants Become 100% Vested Upon Subsequent Plan Termination?

"When a profit sharing plan terminates, do all participants become 100% vested (even terminated participants)?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Entry Date Following Completion of 1,000 Hours of Service

"Prototype document's service requirement for elective deferrals/profit sharing is the completion of 1 year of eligibility service. Hours of service necessary for a year of eligibility service = 1,000. Does this mean they must work a year with at least 1,000 hours and then they enter the plan on the next entry date, or can they enter on the next entry date once they complete 1,000 hours even if it's not yet been a full year?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Annuity Purchased for Participant -- 1099-R Still Needed?

"If a plan purchases an annuity for a participant to remove them from the plan, does the plan still have to issue a 1099-R? Would it show the annuity purchase amount and that it was not taxable? I know the annuity company will issue a 1099-R for the payments the participant receives, but what about on the plan's side?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

DOL Obtains Consent Order and Judgment to Restore Assets to Participants in Ohio Employee Benefit Plans
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue, Inc.
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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2019, 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, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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