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Don’t Miss the April 15th Deadline to File a Protective Refund Claim for 2010 FICA Tax!

As you may recall from our earlier post, the 6th Circuit held in U.S. v. Quality Stores, that severance payments made to employees in connection with an involuntary reduction in force were not “wages” subject to FICA taxes. This decision was contrary to published IRS guidance and created a split in the courts. In October of last year, the United States Supreme Court agreed to review the case and on January 14th, it heard oral arguments. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of June.

Taxpayers may be entitled to a FICA tax refund if the decision is upheld by the Supreme Court on appeal. In order to preserve the right to a refund, taxpayers must file a protective claim before the applicable statute of limitations runs. As we previously reported in a post last year, the deadline to

Supreme Court Clarifies Effect of Motions for Attorney’s Fees on Finality

January 29, 2014


In a decision issued on January 15, the Supreme Court clarified that a pending motion for attorney’s fees does not prevent a judgment on the merits from becoming final for appellate purposes under 28 U.S.C. §1291, even when those fees are contractually provided for.

Ray Haluch Gravel Co. v. Central Pension Fund of the International Union of Operating Engineers & Participating Employers involved the timeliness of an appeal of a judgment against an employer in an ERISA case. The employer was sued by a union for failing to make contributions, required under a collective bargaining agreement, to various benefit funds. The agreement included a provision requiring the employer to pay any attorney’s fees incurred by the union in collecting payments owed to the benefit funds.

The district court entered judgment on the merits, awarding the union far less than it had requested, and more than a

Notre Dame Contraceptive Challenge is “Fast-Tracked” in the Seventh Circuit

The University of Notre Dame, a Catholic higher education institution, challenged ACA’s provision that, as the University describes, requires coverage of certain “abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures, which are contrary to Catholic teaching” in May of 2012.  The University’s original lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in the Northern District of Indiana in December of 2012 for lack of standing.  In its opinion, the district court found that, at that time, the HHS’s regulatory requirement was not sufficiently final to be ripe for review because the government indicated that the regulations would be modified and provide a safe harbor for Notre Dame to protect it from the then-existing regulation.

Given the issuance of the revised guidance in 2013, which provided for the so-called “accommodation” for religious not-for-profit organizations that are not churches and that self-certify their objections to providing the coverage (by shifting the obligation to provide such coverage

2014 Qualified Plan Limits – Now in Tabular Form!

2014 Qualified Plan Limits – Now in Tabular Form!

January 22, 2014

Authored by: benefitsbclp

As a follow up to our post on November 1, 2013, regarding changes to the qualified plan limits for 2014, we’ve issued a Client Alert providing the qualified plan limits for 2014 (as well as 2011 – 2013) in tabular form.

We’ve also reproduced the limits table below for ease of reference:

Type of Limitation





Elective Deferrals (401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457(c)(1))





Section 414(v) Catch-Up Deferrals to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), or SARSEP Plans (457(b)(3) and 402(g) provide separate catch-up rules to be considered as appropriate)






Terry Pritchard Elected as First Woman to Lead Bryan Cave

January 16, 2014


As announced by the firm last month, the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation team is pleased to share that Bryan Cave LLP has completed the process of naming a successor to Don Lents as Chair of the Firm.  Therese (“Terry”) Pritchard will serve as Chair-Elect until the completion of Don’s term on September 30, 2014.  Terry will then become the first woman in the firm’s 140-year history to hold the role of chair.

The Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation team is pleased to welcome Terry as our incoming chair, particularly in light of her vast regulatory expertise.  Terry joined the firm in 1999, resident in the Washington DC office, having earlier served in several senior positions in government agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of Thrift Supervision.  For more than 30 years, she has concentrated her practice on securities and financial institutions enforcement and litigation, representing major

Proposed Excepted Benefits Regulations Have Good News for EAPs & Self-Insured Vision & Dental Plans

January 15, 2014


Benefits that are considered limited or ancillary to comprehensive health coverage are excepted from HIPAA’s portability and nondiscrimination requirements as well as many of the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace mandates and insurance reforms.

Under an initial set of regulations, fully-insured dental and vision benefits qualified as excepted benefits as long as they were offered under a separate insurance policy.  In contrast, self‑insured dental and vision benefits were only considered excepted benefits if (1) participants could opt out of the coverage, and (2) participants who enrolled in the coverage were required to pay a separate premium or contribution for that coverage.  Recognizing the inequity between the treatment of fully-insured and self-insured dental and vision benefits, the regulators issued proposed regulations published in the Federal Register on December 24, 2013 that level the playing field by removing requirement (2) in the preceding sentence.  Under the proposed regulations, self-insured

The Latest and Greatest ACA FAQs

The Latest and Greatest ACA FAQs

January 14, 2014

Authored by: benefitsbclp

Last week, the Departments of Labor, HHS and Treasury issued their 18th set of FAQs intended to answer a smattering of questions regarding the implementation of ACA.  Issues addressed in those FAQs include, among other things:

  • Risk-Reducing Breast Cancer Drugs Must Be Provided Without Copay.  On September 24, 2013, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) revised its “B” recommendation with respect to medications for risk reduction of primary breast cancer in women.  The recommendation now provides that, for women who are at increased risk for breast cancer and at low risk for adverse medication effects, clinicians should offer to prescribe risk-reducing medications, such as tamoxifen or raloxifene.  Given that evidenced-based items or services that have in effect a rating of “A” or “B” must be provided by non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance coverage without cost-sharing, this means that risk-reducing medications prescribed by clinicians

PBGC Simplifies Premium Payments for Large Plans

On January 3, 2014, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation published a rule changing the due date for flat rate premium payments by large defined benefit plans with 500 or more participants. Effective immediately for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, the flat rate premium for large plans will be due 9½ months after the beginning of the plan year, which is the same date that the variable rate premium is due. As a result, the flat rate premium for large calendar year plans will be due on October 15, 2014.

This change should simplify the administration of premium payments for large plans and reduce potential penalties and interest for late payments. Previously, large plans have been required to pay the flat rate premium by the end of the second month of the plan year. Since the flat rate premium is generally based on

Do Your Plan a Favor: Eschew Escheating

Given the migratory nature of society these days, it is not uncommon for an employee benefit plan to accumulate significant sums of money attributable to the accounts of lost participants.  For a number of States, the assets attributable to lost participants are an attractive revenue source.  Utilizing their unclaimed property statutes, many States attempt to seize these funds so they can add them to the State’s coffers.

Most employee benefit plans subject to ERISA can sidestep this potential leakage of plan assets through the use of clear plan language that expressly provides for the forfeiture of amounts from the accounts of participants who are determined to be lost after some predetermined period. The language should also provide that those forfeited funds will be utilized either through a reduction of the sponsor’s contribution obligation or their application to reduce plan expenses.  The Department of Labor has unequivocally

Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Retirement Plan Fiduciaries

Some New Year’s resolutions are perpetual:  lose weight, exercise more,  spend more time with family and friends,  become a  better plan fiduciary.  These seasonal  resolutions may have gotten away from you last year, or perhaps your achieved your goals for 2013 and are ready to raise your target (e.g., 10 lbs. was cake and now you’re going for 20!).   In either case, while we can’t help you with your weight, we can help you become a better  retirement plan fiduciary.

To get fiduciaries started down the right path in the new year, we are providing our Top Ten New Year’s resolutions that retirement plan fiduciaries should consider making for 2014:

10.          Obtain/review fiduciary liability insurance policies/riders.  Fiduciary liability insurance generally covers liability or loss resulting from the fiduciary’s acts or omissions and is a fiduciary’s “first line of defense.”  Policies should be reviewed to ensure

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