CMS Narrows ACA Nondiscrimination Rules

On June 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published proposed final rules in the Federal Register that narrow or eliminate a number of nondiscrimination requirements under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under Section 1557, certain healthcare insurers, providers, and benefit plans are prohibited from discriminating Read More

IRS Provides for COVID-19 Leave Donation Program

On June 11, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-46 to address potential tax issues arising from employer leave-based donation programs that help victims of the COVID-19 pandemic in “affected geographic areas” that include all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.  Leave donation programs typically allow employees with accrued vacation, sick, or leave time to donate their hours to be used by Read More

DOL Allows Private Equity Investments in 401(k) Plans

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued an information letter stating that a fiduciary that complies with the requirements of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) may include private equity as an investment option for 401(k) plan participants. In its information letter, the DOL noted that, “Private equity investments...present additional considerations to Read More

Family ‘SECURity’: Early Withdrawal Tax Exception for Qualified Births and Adoptions

By Anne Tyler Hall and Katharine Finley, Hall Benefits Law The Setting Up Every Community for Retirement Enhancement Act (the “SECURE Act”), subsumed in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 and signed into law by President Trump in December 2019, effectuated a myriad of changes to qualified retirement plans. One of the more significant provisions in the SECURE Act includes the expansion of the Read More

Employee Benefits in M&A Transactions: CARES Act Considerations

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27, 2020, to deliver financial relief to American workers and businesses facing financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic. Going forward, there are some important considerations for companies involved in M&A transaction negotiations, especially when it comes to how CARES Act relief provisions affect employee Read More

IRS Provides SECURity Through 401(k) Plan Expansion to Long-Term, Part-Time Workers

By Anne Tyler Hall and Katharine Finley On December 19, 2019, the House and Senate approved the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020. This legislative package of spending bills included the Setting Up Every Community for Retirement Enhancement Act (the “SECURE Act”) and was signed into law by President Trump on December 20, 2019. One of the more significant changes set forth in Section 112 of the SECURE Read More

Supreme Court Denies Defined Benefit Plan Participants a Fiduciary Breach Victory When Pension Payments Unaffected

On June 1, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A., that defined benefit plan participants lack standing under Article III to pursue claims of fiduciary breach when the plan is fully funded.  Background Plaintiffs were fully vested retired participants in U.S. Bank’s defined benefit retirement plan and filed suit against the bank and other plan fiduciaries for allegedly mismanaging plan Read More

IRS Expands List of Qualified Individuals Eligible for Coronavirus-Related Distributions

Recently, the IRS issued Notice 2020-50 to update and clarify certain provisions of Section 2202 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which deals with the tax treatment of coronavirus-related distributions from eligible retirement plans for qualified individuals. Under the CARES Act, retirement plan participants may borrow up to $100,000 or 100% of their vested balance, whichever Read More

IRS Shortens Time Period for Employers to Deposit Payroll Taxes for Certain Stock-Settled Awards

The IRS has issued an internal procedural update that shortens the deadline for depositing employment taxes for certain stock-settled awards from three business days after exercise (T+3) to two business days after exercise (T+2), and expands the application of the administrative waiver of late employment tax deposit penalties for stock options to stock-settled restricted stock units (RSUs) and stock-settled Read More

IRS Offers Temporary Relief from Physical Presence Requirement for Retirement Plan Spousal Consent

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS has provided temporary relief from the requirement that spousal consent for retirement plan loans, distributions, and beneficiary designations take place in the physical presence of a plan representative or notary public.  IRS Notice 2020-42 provides for the physical presence requirement to be deemed satisfied during calendar year 2020 under the following Read More