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[Guidance Overview]

PBGC Issues Final Rules on Reportable Events, Information Reporting, and More (PDF)

"These final rules are substantially similar to the proposed rules issued by the PBGC in June 2019, but contain certain differences regarding reportable events and annual financial and actuarial information reporting. In general, this guidance includes changes to existing rules on reportable events, annual financial and actuarial information reporting, termination of single-employer plans, and PBGC premium rates."


[Sponsored] -- New Title -- PLAN CORRECTIONS eSOURCE

Sponsored by Burrmont Compliance Labs LLC

The PLAN CORRECTIONS eSOURCE, written by Alison Cohen, Ilene Ferenczy, and Derrin Watson, addresses all retirement plan blunders and provides step-by-step instructions for making things right again. Contact us: or 612-605-2266 Learn more

[Guidance Overview]

Tracking the SECURE Act's Effect on Qualified Retirement Plans

"[The authors provide] a summary of the law's impact on tax-qualified retirement plans, employer-sponsored plans ... [An] accompanying table [lists] the relevant sections of the new law of particular interest to retirement plan sponsors together with applicable guidance. [This information will be updated] as implementing regulations and other guidance unfold."


[Guidance Overview]

Details of the SECURE Act: Small Employer Plan Credit

"Sections 104 and 105 of the Act amend the tax laws to increase the employer credit for small plan startup costs and to provide an additional credit for plans that incorporate an auto-enrollment provision.... [W]hile the maximum credit allowed has increased, there is still an overriding limit of 50% of total costs. The new limit applies to taxable years after December 31, 2019."

Retirement Management Services, LLC

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts: A Primer

24 pages. "This report explains IRAs' eligibility requirements, contribution limits, tax deductibility of contributions, and withdrawal rules, and it provides data on the accounts' holdings. It also describes the Saver's Credit and provisions enacted after ... certain ... federally declared disasters ... to exempt distributions to those affected from the 10% early withdrawal penalty." [RL 34397, updated Mar. 2, 2020]

Congressional Research Service [CRS]

IRS Representatives Say No Imminent VCP Changes

"IRS TE/GE attendees at the TE/GE Council acknowledged that there is some intention to require stricter compliance by practitioners who have been abusing the current VCP procedures. For example, the IRS is intending to enforce the 21-day period it provides for practitioners to respond to requests for additional information."

Ferenczy Benefits Law Center

Components of a 401(k) Plan's Investment Policy Statement

"[1] State the objective of the IPS ... [2] A statement of corporate mission ... [3] The plan's mission statement ... [4] A summary of the plan's vital information ... [5] An outline of the plan's investment objectives ... [6] Method of due diligence and evaluation ... [7] The trustee's fiduciary education plan ... [8] The plan participant's education plan ... [9] Compliance review plan."

Fiduciary News

Supreme Court Dilutes ERISA's Statute of Limitations Defense for Fiduciaries

"Clear plan disclosures are as important as ever.... Consider tweaking recordkeeping and disclosure processes.... A potential obstacle to class certification?" [Intel Corp. Investment Policy Comm. v. Sulyma, No. 18-1116 (S. Ct. Feb. 26, 2020)]

Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP

Supreme Court Ruling Toughens ERISA's 'Actual Knowledge' Standard, Makes Dismissal of Fiduciary Breach Actions More Unlikely

"The Court found that plan participants who have access to plan disclosures but do not read them cannot be said to have 'actual knowledge' of their contents. This interpretation of 'actual knowledge' reduces protections conferred by proper disclosures on diligent fiduciaries, and will raise fact questions in many cases where plaintiffs had access to disclosures that clearly put them on notice of alleged fiduciary breaches." [Intel Corp. Investment Policy Comm. v. Sulyma, No. 18-1116 (S. Ct. Feb. 26, 2020)]


Self-Dealing ERISA Challenge Targets John Hancock

"The proposed class action suggests that John Hancock breached its fiduciary duties 'by applying an imprudent and inappropriate preference for John Hancock products within the plan, despite their poor performance, high costs and lack of traction among fiduciaries of similarly-sized plans.' In addition, the self-dealing lawsuit suggests the firm failed to monitor or control the plan's administrative expenses, allegedly costing the plan millions of dollars in excessive administrative fees over the course of the class period." [Baker v. John Hancock Life Ins. Co., No. 20-10397 (D. Mass. complaint filed Feb. 27, 2020)]

PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

Average Account Balance a Key Driver of 401(k) Plan Costs

"The average total plan cost for a small retirement plan (100 participants/$5,000,000 assets) declined from 1.25% to 1.24% over the past year, while the average total plan cost for a large retirement plan (1,000 participants/$50,000,000 assets) declined from 0.95% to 0.93%."

PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

On the Horizon: New Technologies for Annuity Administration

"Today, more defined benefit plan sponsors are using group annuities for their pension de-risking strategy. This is good news for the insurers who provide those annuities, but it does come with a more involved, complex, and time-intensive administration process.... While existing technology eases the burden of these tasks, there are still developments on the horizon that will seriously change the game, making the process more efficient, less costly, and far more effective than it is even today.... [1] Natural language processing ... [2] Artificial Intelligence (AI) ... [3] Data analytics ... [4] Blockchain."


Reporting Foreign Retirement Plans on Required Information Returns

"Foreign asset reporting -- including the reporting of foreign retirement plans -- is a high priority for the IRS ... Individuals with assets in foreign retirement plans, as well as their tax advisors, should become familiar with the various U.S. information reporting forms that may need to be filed to report those plans. This article provides information about different types of foreign retirement plans, the Department of Treasury forms used to report them, and the consequences of failing to do so."

The CPA Journal

The Economic Benefit of Public Pension Dollars in Rural America (PDF)

116 pages. "Public pension benefit dollars represent between one and three percent of GDP on average in the 1,401 counties studied.... Rural counties and counties that contain state capitals have the highest percentages of their populations receiving public pension benefits. Small town counties experience a greater relative impact in terms of both GDP and total personal income from pension benefit dollars than rural or metropolitan counties."

National Institute on Retirement Security [NIRS]


Pension Rights Center Comments to Treasury Department in Opposition to the American Federation of Musicians and Employers' Pension Fund Application to Reduce Benefits Under MPRA (PDF)

"The statute requires the Treasury to apply a multipart test to determine whether a cutback scheme may be licitly applied. However, the factors are quite subjective -- what is an 'equitable' distribution of benefit reductions? How much discrepancy is allowed? Is the discrepancy measured on a dollar or percentage basis? The Treasury Department has issued no public guidance that outlines how the Department evaluates each factor.... Moreover, some relevant information is not in the public record."

Pension Rights Center

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

In-Service Withdrawal of Salary Deferrals Prior to Age 59-1/2

"We took over the administration of a 20 participant 401(k) plan. Over the past 3 years up to 10 participants (all under age 59-1/2) have taken in-service distributions of all sources (including salary deferrals). They claim they all wanted to move the accounts to their IRAs. Could this be corrected under VCP?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Can't Get IRS Determination Letter for Individually Designed Cash Balance Plan

"Has anyone been denied a determination letter for an IDP cash balance plan? I have a client that restated an IDP to a preapproved plan. The original IDP had never obtained a DL, so they wanted to get a DL for the original plan. We sent in the application in May 2019 and we've just received a letter stating that, due to section 12 of Rev. Proc. 2019-4, they aren't able to issue a determination. Has you heard this before? The IRS agent said they're notifying many applicants about it."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Include Distribution Processing Fee in Amount Subject to Tax Withholding?

"Distribution requested at $1,000. Related Fees are $100. Would the 20% withholding apply to $1,000 or to $900? (Would 1099-R reflect a $900 distribution or a $1,000 distribution?)"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

NCEO Welcomes Milan Havel, Its Newest Staff Member
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

Upcoming Events About Retirement Plans or Executive Compensation

Mar. 4
Understanding Earned Income
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA]
Mar. 4
IRA and HSA Seminar
Mar. 4
District of Columbia
Modernizing the DC / 401(k) Plan System
ERIC [ERISA Industry Committee]
Mar. 4
Controlled Group Liability and Successor Employer Rules After PBGC v. Findlay Industries Inc.
Mar. 4
What To Do When Culture Sucks
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Greater Cincinnati Chapter
Mar. 5
Open MEP/PEP Strategies: Answers to Your Pressing Questions
Faegre Drinker
Mar. 6
Discussion of Sulyma v. Intel Decision
ERIC [ERISA Industry Committee]
Mar. 10
That 401(k) National Conference
Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C.
Mar. 10
Litigation Lessons and Minimizing Risks
Trucker Huss

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

IRS Confirms Review of Changes to VCP Enforcement, Audit Process
National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA], Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 644-4146

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

Article submission: Online form, or email to

BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2020, 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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