Is Repeal of the Cadillac Tax Inevitable?

Many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are still being debated, especially as our country decides what direction to go next and government agencies shift in the ways they’re creating and applying regulations to enforce the law. One provision of the ACA, often referred to as the “Cadillac Tax,” that is currently under discussion, places a 40% excise tax on “high-cost” employer-sponsored health plans. While Read More

IRS Shifts Gears on Pension Plan Retiree Lump-Sum Window Alternative

Paying attention to the shifts in how the IRS interprets its regulations is an important part of benefits administration,  In recent Notice 2019-18, the IRS announced that there will be no amendments to regulations that will stop retiree lump sum windows in defined benefit pension plans and that this will not necessarily lead to a violation of minimum distribution rules. This is a shift in gears from 2015 guidance Read More

Company Alternatives for Retirement Plan Participant with Insufficient Beneficiary Designation Forms

One of the key issues with respect to retirement plan distributions is proper handling of beneficiary designations. Issues that arise for retirement plan sponsors related to beneficiary designations include incomplete beneficiary designation forms, benefits being split among beneficiaries in unclear or mathematically impossible ways, or even pre-deceased beneficiaries. While your human resources department can take Read More

DOL Provides Needed Clarification on Authorized Representatives Acting for ERISA Claimants

There are times when an individual who has a claim under ERISA is unable to bring that claim on their own. In these situations, an authorized representative of the claimant can bring the claim instead. A recent Department of Labor (DOL) Information Letter, issued at the end of February, provides clarification regarding the ability of this individual to act on behalf of the claimant. Specifically, it addressed the Read More

Can a Company Implement a Match Safe Harbor Mid-Year?

Businesses make plans and strategic changes throughout the year. These changes may involve ramping up or down employees, buying or merging with other businesses, or changing goals in such a way that HR needs to re-align benefits to reflect those goals. Human resources departments, meanwhile, are working to follow either a calendar or fiscal year plan of important notices, paperwork, and changes for employees. Is it Read More

Case Study: Deconstruction and Redesign of the Executive Compensation Program for a Company with Long-Term Growth and Retention Objectives

This blog is an excerpt of Anne Tyler Hall's book "Case Studies in ERISA: Why It Matters And How It Benefits You, A Plan Sponsor's Guide To Employee Benefits Legal Compliance"  request your free digital copy of the book here.   Client: A global firm based in the Southeast with more than 400 employees. It had an existing, but ineffective LTIP and deferred compensation (DC) plan. The LTIP was intended to Read More

Key Benefits Considerations in Mergers & Acquisitions

When companies come together through a merger or acquisition, there’s significant work conducted when blending the two organizations, particularly in regards to benefits offered. Comparing health plans, retirement plans, and other benefit packages offered is just the first step to merging the benefits and keeping key employees in the company being bought happy with the arrangement. Comparing Plans Benefits is just Read More

Mitigating the Tax Impact on Employee Equity Compensation

Businesses of all sizes, from brand new startups to large blue-chip enterprises, like to use equity compensation for key employees. This ties the employee’s financial interest to that of the company and can provide the company with a creative additional way of compensating individuals. Depending on the type of plan a business sets up, this compensation may be better tax wise for employees than traditional Read More

COBRA Coverage Considerations for Terminated Employees

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985’s continuation of coverage requirements, now commonly known as COBRA, is the option employees have to continue with their existing insurance coverage for a period of time after termination of employment. Employees may choose to keep their current plan instead of shopping for a plan on the Exchange for a number of reasons, often related to coverage. Once a Read More

RMDs and the “Still Working” Exception: Planning Strategies

In general, qualified retirement plans require participants to begin taking the required minimum distribution (RMD) by April 1st of the year they turn 70 ½. Some plan participants, however, intend to keep working and want to take an exception to this rule, leaving the funds in their retirement plan to further grow. When taking the exception, then the RMD begins when the employee retires or is laid off from work with Read More