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Thanks, ERISA, and Happy 40th!

September 3, 2014

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Thanks, ERISA, and Happy 40th!

September 3, 2014

Authored by: benefitsbclp

Forty years ago yesterday, September 2, 1974, Congress passed the Employees Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.  Most, maybe all, of the people reading this blog owe their careers to a single piece of legislation that has spawned growth industries and cottage industries.  The acronym “ERISA” has special meaning to all who work in the employee benefits industry.

ERISA exists in no small measure due to three factors:  (1) the ineptitude and greed of those running the automobile manufacturer, Studebaker–Packard Corporation back in the early 1960s; (2) the mismanagement and abuse (likely theft with no federal recourse to protect participants) of the world’s then largest pension fund by the executives of the Teamsters Union; and (3) the legislative tenacity of Senators Jacob Javits and Harrison Williams.  These factors forged together over a decade to get ERISA passed.  The legislative debate was one of the most significant management versus

New IRS Procedures for Waiver of Penalties for Delinquent Form 5500 Filings

June 12, 2014

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ERISA Plans.     Plan administrators who fail to timely file an annual report on Form 5500 are subject to penalties under both ERISA and the Code.  In 1995, the Department of Labor (DOL) adopted the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance program (DFVC), which permits late filers to file  delinquent Forms 5500 (including all required schedules) and pay a reduced penalty.  The IRS announced, in Notice 2002-23, that it will not impose penalties under the Code on plan administrators who are eligible for and follow the DFVC procedures.  Since 2002, the Department of Labor revised its procedures to require electronic filing of all Form 5500s beginning with the 2009 plan year.  Last year the DOL revised the DFVC program to require electronic filing for delinquent filings. In addition, beginning with the 2009 plan year Schedule SSA was replaced by Form 8955-SSA, which is a standalone form that is filed only with the IRS. 

National Employee Benefits Day Crossword Puzzle #3

April 4, 2014

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National Employee Benefits Day Crossword Puzzle #3

April 4, 2014

Authored by: benefitsbclp

This is the third in our series of three crossword puzzles in honor of National Employee Benefits Day on Wednesday!  Go here and here to see the first two posts in this series.

Reminder: Answers for all three puzzles will be posted on Saturday so you can check your work.  Enjoy!

National Employee Benefits Day Crossword Puzzle #1

April 2, 2014

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National Employee Benefits Day Crossword Puzzle #1

April 2, 2014

Authored by: benefitsbclp

In honor of National Employee Benefits Day, we’re taking a break from guidance updates and commentary and providing a little fun.  Over the next few days, we will be posting some crossword puzzles focused on the fascinating and complex world of benefits.  We will post the answers on Saturday so you can check your work.  Enjoy!

Happy National Employee Benefits Day!

April 2, 2014

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Today we recognize the important work that Human Resource professionals, plan administrators, trustees and fiduciaries, as well as professional advisors do on behalf of the nation’s workers and employers. Beyond the apparent role of protecting workers, benefit professionals also help American business navigate complex regulatory rules for the purpose of attracting and retaining the workforce it needs to attain its goals. It is this ability to help a business achieve its objectives while simultaneously creating benefit for the worker that makes our work so rewarding. Happy National Employee Benefits Day!

Lisa Van Fleet Leader of Bryan Cave’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group

 

The GAO Would Like Greater Clarity for Pension Reporting and Disclosure (by Plan Sponsors AND the Government)

December 19, 2013

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On November 21, 2013, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report entitled “Clarity of Required Reports and Disclosures Could Be Improved,”addressing the resources currently allocated by Congress to the oversight of private sector pension plans under ERISA by the Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).  The report was commissioned to “look at how useful all the pension reporting and disclosure requirements are to sponsors, participants and government officials and determine whether there are ways to improve the system.”  As plan sponsors know, participants are inundated with a deluge of disclosure requirements and there are multiple reporting requirements to various government agencies, both of which the GAO report essentially confirms.

Some of the more interesting observations of the GAO include:

  • The GAO identified 70 different reports and 60 different disclosures arising from

Before the Ball Drops for the New Year, Don’t Forget to Address These 2013 Employee Benefit Items!

Qualified Plans

  • If your plans are filed in “Cycle C” for determinations letters (i.e., plan sponsor’s EIN ends in 3 or 8), address items needed for the IRS filing before the end of the year. The filing deadline is January 31, 2014, but notices to “interested parties” must be distributed no later than 10 days before the filing. Set that filing date and prepare the plan restatement before the ball drops.
  • If your company did not timely adopt a written 403(b) plan document, you may qualify for a reduced compliance fee under the IRS’ correction program, but only if the filing is made before the ball drops.
  • Most defined benefit plans have been amended to incorporate the benefit accrual and distribution restrictions that apply if the plan’s funding drops below certain thresholds. These Code Section 436 rules must be added to your defined benefit plan by written amendment before

Tell Us What You Think! Employee Benefits Group Communications Survey

October 3, 2013

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Over the last two years, the Bryan Cave Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group has been focusing on how to best communicate with you – our valued clients and friends. In addition to our traditional Client Alerts, we’re now reaching out in other ways by sending monthly compliance reminder emails, maintaining this active and vibrant blog (benefitsbrayncave.com) and utilizing a variety of social media platforms including Twitter and LinkedIn, to bolster our visibility and connect with more people.

We’d like to hear from you about what you like, don’t like and what mediums you think serve you the best in keeping up in today’s highly regulated environment. To that end, we’ve prepared a quick survey (it should take no more than 5 minutes to complete) where you can provide us feedback on our group’s communication platform. We sincerely value your opinion and hope that you’ll take a few minutes to

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