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April 30, 2020 logo logo
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View Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Resources

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Rev. Proc. 2020-29: Temporary Authorization for Electronic Submission of Rulings and Determination Letter Requests (PDF)

"This revenue procedure modifies the procedures in Rev. Proc. 2020-1 ... temporarily to allow for the electronic submission of requests for letter rulings, closing agreements, determination letters, and information letters under the jurisdiction of the [IRS] Office of Chief Counsel ... Until this revenue procedure is modified or superseded, both paper and electronic requests for advice described in section 2.01 of this revenue procedure ... will be accepted.... The IRS will also continue to accept requests for advice as provided in Rev. Proc. 2020-1, although the IRS expects to have limited personnel available, which will likely delay for some period of time the processing of requests that are submitted in paper copies through the mail and private delivery services. Electronic submission in accordance with this revenue procedure will allow for more expeditious processing than paper submission.... [T]he IRS encourages taxpayers and their representatives to use a secure electronic facsimile service for transmitting requests for advice. As an alternative, this section 4.02 provides procedures for using compressed and encrypted email attachments for transmitting a request for advice[.]"

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Sponsored] -- Stay Safe

Sponsored by Burrmont Compliance Labs LLC authors and staff commend you for the extraordinary efforts you are making to serve your clients. Please let us know how we may help and periodically check our webcasts page for updates. Contact us: or 612-605-2266 Learn more

[Guidance Overview]

COVID-19 Disaster Relief Arrives for Private-Sector Retirement Plan Sponsors and Administrators

"The guidance reflects the DOL recognition that COVID-19, and the ensuing government response, is likely impairing most, if not all, plan sponsors' and administrators' ability to comply with certain requirements and deadlines under ERISA.... This relief is broad and flexible. Disclosure and notice requirements, including the provision of benefit statements, may be satisfied electronically ... The DOL clearly recognizes that the primary goal at this point is for plans to take reasonable measures to prevent the loss or undue delay in benefits to participants and beneficiaries."

Stradley Ronon

Reporting Coronavirus-Related Distributions

"While we do not have definitive reporting guidance yet, we anticipate the IRS's reporting procedures for CRDs will be similar to those the agency already has in place for 'qualified disaster distributions' (QDDs)."

Retirement Learning Center, LLC

CARES Act Myths: Loans and Distributions

"[M]any participants are under the impression that the new loan and distribution provisions are available to everyone, as is the ability to delay loan payments due in 2020. However, in reality, all of the expanded loan and distribution provisions, including the ability to delay 2020 loan repayments, are only available to qualified individuals affected by COVID-19.... While the CARES Act allows participants to delay loan repayments due between March 27 and December 31 by a full year, there is nothing that indicates that 2021 loan repayments would be similarly delayed.... [P]lans appear to have the option to allow RMDs to be taken."

Cammack Retirement Group

Coronavirus Fiduciary Investment Claims: A Look at Retirement Plans

"With actual investment losses from the recent market decline, it is likely that plaintiffs will continue to bring excessive fee cases, but this time they will have the investment losses to create a more appealing storyline. While it is not clear that all index funds will outperform actively managed plans during the downturn, plans offering actively managed mutual funds are still at risk if they underperform index benchmarks, and will provide fodder for additional excessive fee and breach of fiduciary duty claims against defined contributions plans."

Euclid Specialty Managers

ERISA Claims for Cross-Marketing Participant Data Hit a Snag

"The district court below had refused to allow plaintiffs to proceed with breach of fiduciary duty and prohibited transaction claims based on the recordkeeper's use of participant data for purposes of 'cross-marketing' non-plan services to plan participants.... In affirming the district court decision, the Seventh Circuit agreed that the allegations based on cross-marketing were untimely and 'failed to state claims for relief.' This is the first time the issue of cross-marketing participant data has been decided at the circuit court level. Going forward, this precedent will pose a significant obstacle for plaintiffs who wish to pursue cross-marketing claims." [Divane v. Northwestern Univ., No. 18-2569 (7th Cir. Mar. 25, 2020)]

Thompson Hine, via Lexology; free registration required

To MEP or Not to MEP (PDF)

25 presentation slides. Topics: [1] What is a MEP? [2] Understanding the SECURE Act. [3] What is a PEP? [4] Differentiating MEPs and PEPs. [5] How does a MEP or PEP work? [6] Advantages and disadvantages. [7] Expanding your small plan offering with plan aggregation. [8] Alternatives to MEPs/PEPs.


Avoiding or Rolling Over Required Minimum Distributions Already Taken in 2020

"Although RMDs are not eligible to be rolled over, any distribution from an IRA and/or 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b) accounts during 2020 will not be considered a RMD and thus would be eligible to be indirectly rolled over.... Another possible strategy for an RMD already received in 2020 is to roll over the RMD into a Roth IRA[.]"

Holland & Knight

Defined Contribution Plan Participants' Activities, 2019 (PDF)

16 pages. "In 2019, 3.9 percent of DC plan participants took withdrawals, compared with 3.4 percent in 2018. Levels of hardship withdrawal activity also remained low. Only 1.9 percent of DC plan participants took hardship withdrawals during 2019, compared with 1.6 percent in 2018.... In 2019, 2.3 percent of DC plan participants stopped contributing, the same share as in 2018.... At the end of December 2019, 16.1 percent of DC plan participants had loans outstanding, compared with 16.7 percent at year-end 2018, and 16.7 percent at year-end 2017."

Investment Company Institute [ICI]


Editor's Pick Pandemic Relief Measures Place Women's Retirement Security at Risk

"Delays in the divorce process mean that court orders legally awarding a fair share of a retirement benefit to the other spouse are also delayed. This, combined with changes that enable people to take their retirement benefits without a spouse's permission, create a perfect opportunity for divorcing parties to hide retirement plan money from their spouses."

Pension Rights Center


Senator Cardin Open to Including Help for American Retirement Savers in Future COVID-19 Legislation

"IRI's plan includes ... [1] Increase RMD age to 75; [2] Eliminate barriers to allow greater use of lifetime income products ... [3] Allow catch-up retirement contributions for those affected by COVID-19; [4] Expand retirement saving opportunities for non-profit organization employees; [5] Clarify start-up tax credit to incentivize small businesses to join MEPs/PEPs."

Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]

Benefits in General

ERISA Fee Motions After COVID-19

"One decision presents a refresher course on the merits of ERISA fee motions and the other used the novel procedural approach of conducting a Zoom video hearing in lieu of live appearances.... The post-COVID-19 world will present many new ways of doing business, and we can foresee federal judges experimenting with Zoom hearings in lieu of expensive and now unwelcome travel. A good place to start may be with fee motions, as they are ancillary to the merits of the case."


Eleventh Circuit Renders Landmark Decision on ERISA Sanctions

"[T]he Eleventh Circuit ruled that the penalties available under Section 1132(c) 'cannot be imposed for failure to provide documents other than those specifically enumerated in Section 1024(b)(4).' In so holding, the court rejected the plaintiff's contention that sanctions were available for failures to produce claims-specific and employment history document requests, including alleged violations of ERISA Section 209(a), 29 U.S.C. Section 1059(a) and [DOL] regulations." [Williamson v. Travelport, LP, No. 18-10449 (11th Cir. Mar. 27, 2020)]


Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Rollover-Eligible Distributions Allowed from All Government-Sponsored Thrift Saving Plans?

"If a plan allows rollovers from '401(a)' plans, does this include a governmental TSP? I know TSP distributions CAN be rolled to IRAs, qualified plans, etc., but does a TSP specifically need to be listed under the plan types that can be rolled in, or is that covered under the umbrella of 401(a)?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

CARES Act Distributions Can Be Limited to Former Employees?

"Can a plan sponsor adopt the special distribution under the CARES Act and offer the benefit only to terminated employees? The plan sponsor wants to avoid having a host of active employees taking advantage of the benefit. And what about employees who have taken pre-59-1/2 distributions --are they going to avoid the 10% penalty if the plan sponsor does not amend the plan for CARES Act benefits?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Death of Participant's Father Is Sufficient for a COVID-19 Loan?

"We're trying to determine whether someone qualifies for a loan. Participant's father passed away due to COVID. The participant is seeking a loan to pay for the funeral. We know the participant and spouse have not lost any pay due to the pandemic (and may actually be making increased salary due to hazard pay). Would these funeral expenses qualify the participant for a loan?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Calculating Minimum Legal Interest Rate on 401(k) Loans

"I've seen various methods used for the calculation of interest rate on 401(k) loans, but am not sure what Internal Revenue Code section addresses this. I've seen rates in plans such as 'WSJ Prime plus X%', or even using the rate of G funds for a TSP. I'm looking to set a rate that is legal but as low as possible."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of EBSA and IRS Final Regs: Extension of Certain Timeframes for Employee Benefit Plans, Participants, and Beneficiaries Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]; and Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Text of EBSA COVID-19 FAQs for Participants and Beneficiaries (PDF)
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL], 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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