First Five Years of ACA Penalty Collections Disappoint: Treasury Auditors Advise More Aggressive ACA Penalty Enforcement

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently released a heavily redacted audit report – Improvements Are Needed to Ensure That Employer Shared Responsibility Payments Are Properly Assessed – in which it faults the IRS for being too lenient on Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer shared responsibility mandate reporting and compliance. The ACA shared responsibility mandate requires that Read More

Plan Participant Personal Information: Retirement Plan Asset?

Earlier this year, a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against Shell Oil Company by several participants in the company’s 401(k) plan, claiming that Shell allowed its plan recordkeeper – Fidelity Investment Institutional Operations Company, Inc. (FIIOC) – to use the participants’ personal information to cross-sell other financial products and services outside the plan in Read More

DOL Revives Five-Part Fiduciary Test; Offers New Guidance on Rollover Advice

On June 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Notice of Proposed Class Exemption (“Notice”) that reinstated its previous “five-part test” to determine who is an investment advice fiduciary under ERISA as well as a proposed prohibited transaction exemption for investment advice fiduciaries that is based on the Department’s temporary policy adopted after a 2018 ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Read More

EEOC Issues New Regulations: What Does This Mean for Your Business?

On October 14, 2020 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a final rule that amends its procedural regulations. By increasing the EEOC’s efficiency, these procedural changes may result in an increase to employers’ liability exposure.  The regulations make the following two relevant changes: Formalize a procedure for the electronic transmission of EEOC complaints and other charge-related Read More

DOL Issues Proposed Rule for ESG Investing

On June 23, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule to clarify investment duties for plan fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) when it comes to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. Under ERISA, plan fiduciaries are required to act solely in the financial best interests of plan participants and beneficiaries. The DOL has issued prior Read More

IRS Offers Guidance on RMDs considering CARES Act and SECURE Act

On June 26, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-51, which provides guidance on the waiver of required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020 from certain retirement plans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) and the required beginning date for RMDs under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (“SECURE Act”). The SECURE Act extended the age for beginning RMDs Read More

Stock Drop Litigation Cases and COVID-19: Retirement Plans Beware!

During times of stock market volatility, there is typically an increase in the number of ERISA claims filed seeking recovery of investment losses. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly qualifies as a market volatility event, giving plaintiffs an opportunity to bring breach of fiduciary claims based on company stock losses in qualified retirement plans. In these cases, plaintiffs typically assert that, based on Read More

Recent Cybersecurity Breach Case Proves Risks Are Rife for Both Retirement Plan Sponsors and Service Providers

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) became law before the computer age, so there are no provisions in the Act dealing with cybersecurity. In addition, there is no formal guidance from the IRS or Department of Labor on cybersecurity responsibilities either, leaving it to the courts to determine responsibilities under ERISA when a cybersecurity breach occurs that results in theft from a Read More

Health Law Daily Wrap Up, STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVES: Health law takes center stage at U.S. Supreme Court, (Oct. 5, 2020)

STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVES: Health law takes center stage at U.S. Supreme Court An Affordable Care Act (ACA) case and a federal preemption case involving Medicare and ERISA are before the High Court, with possibly more health law cases to come.  By Cathleen Calhoun, J.D. In the 2020-21 term, the U.S. Supreme Court justices will decide at least two important health law cases. The first is an Affordable Care Act Read More

What A Biden Win Could Mean For Employer Health Insurance

By Eric Schillinger and Anne Tyler Hall Over 155 million Americans — nearly half of the country's entire population — are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance.  During his campaign, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has proposed numerous significant changes to the U.S. health care system.  Although many of those proposals relate to Medicare, Medicaid and the individual insurance market Read More