IRS Deems Transfer of Surplus Assets of Terminated Plan to Replacement Plan Permissible

A recent private letter ruling from the IRS discussed transferring assets from a terminated defined benefit plan to two 401(k) “qualified replacement plans” under Code Section 4980. The two replacement plans are employer-sponsored retirement plans that qualify for special tax treatment. Without this transfer approval, the IRS Code would require a 20% excise tax on funds transferred after a plan Read More

DOL Clarifies Retirement Plan Electronic Disclosure in New Proposed Regulations

New proposed regulations from the Department of Labor (DOL) will give employers additional flexibility to deliver required retirement plan disclosure documents electronically. Released in October 2019, these rules would allow plan administrators to satisfy notice delivery requirements by posting notices to a website, so long as they meet certain conditions. This helps both businesses and individuals cut down on paper Read More

New Publication Provides Comprehensive Analysis of DOL’s ESOP Investigations

The National Center for Employee Ownership recently released a guide that includes a comprehensive analysis of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) investigations of Employee Stock Ownership Programs. The report’s data comes from the DOL and covers the years 2007 through 2017. DOL investigations are further broken down by issues and results. While the report is comprehensive and very quantitative, there are some high Read More

Four Compensation Committee Best Practices

Executive compensation and compensation programs will always be under review as management and ownership aim to align compensation, especially at the highest levels, with performance. While the goals and metrics may differ by company, best practices for compensation committees can be applied across the board to increase compensation effectiveness (and, as a byproduct, company growth) and improve Read More

Disclosure of PHI on Yelp Results in $10,000 HIPAA Settlement

This past October, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the entity responsible for policing HIPAA violations, announced a settlement with a Texas dental practice. The dental practice disclosed protected health information (PHI) on Yelp and was subject to a $10,000 fine. This information was disclosed in response to online reviews posted by the patient. In addition to the Read More

Time for Your Beginning of Year Benefit Check-Up

Benefit administrators work hard to avoid the unexpected costs and frustration associated with an IRS audit. One way to do so is to perform a periodic check-up of your organization’s benefit plans, associated documentation, and procedures. This should be performed with the help of benefits legal counsel to take into account the laws and regulations that could impact your business, employees, and dependents. Update Read More

District Court Concludes No Right to Jury Trial in ERISA Fiduciary Breach Case

In a recent federal district court decision that featured ERISA plan participants suing for breach of fiduciary duty, Moitoso v. FMR LLC, the court concluded that a jury trial is not required.. The argument for a lack of jury trial when the plan participants won the argument was that the participants’ winnings were not legal damages but an equitable surcharge, and thus they did not require a jury trial. The court did Read More

IRS Provides Guidance on 2019 Updates to Retirement Plans

Over the 2019 calendar year, the IRS, in conjunction with the Department of Labor (DOL), issued guidance on retirement plans that was largely focused on self-correction, determination letters, hardship distributions, and multiple employer retirement plans (MEPs). The following provides an overview of retirement plan governmental guidance during 2019: Self-Correction for Loan Failures: Guidance from April 2019 Read More

ERISA 403(b) and 457 Plans the Subject of New SEC Investigations

403(b) retirement plans are generally provided for government and public university employees. While like 401(k) plans in some ways, these retirement plans are designed specifically for tax-exempt entities.  457 plans are often offered to government workers and nonprofit groups, and they and allow bigger catch-up contributions than their counterparts. Recently, 403(b) plans have come under fire from lawsuits Read More

401(k) Student Loan Repayment Programs at Top of 2020 IRS Priority List

Student loans remain a major issue for younger professionals. Many of these professionals now choose to prioritize student loan payments over saving for retirement, something that makes sense presently but can lead to financial consequences in the future. When businesses look for ways to attract top talent, they want to be able to address the concerns the talent has by offering benefit packages that are in line with Read More