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The FAST Act – If You Blinked You May Have Missed It.

The FAST Act – If You Blinked You May Have Missed It.

January 7, 2016

Authored by: Denise Erwin

MovingDeadlinesOn December 3, 2015, the President signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (the “FAST Act”) which provides for five years of funding for highway projects.  If you just skimmed the news on this one, you may not have noticed that the FAST Act included a repeal of the extension to the Form 5500 filing deadline that was provided under the stop-gap Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 that was passed in August.

As we reported in our previous blog post, the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 provided that, beginning in 2016, the automatic extension for the Form 5500 would be extended from 2½ months to 3½ months from the initial deadline.  Calendar year plans would be allowed to file as late as November 15th.

In response to a luke-warm reception to the extended deadline (which was apparently viewed by many as serving only to prolong misery), the FAST Act provides that the old October 15th automatic extension deadline has been restored.

Don’t get tripped up by this legislative game of “now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t.”  As we embark on the new year, mark your calendars for October 15th as the automatic extension due date for filing Form 5500.

 

Congress Engages in Some Holiday Spending on Benefits

Congress’s recent $1.8 trillion holiday shopping spree (aka The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, which became law on December 18, 2015) included a few employee benefit packages. We recently unwrapped the packages. Here is what we found.

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1.   Cadillac Tax Delayed. The largest present under the employee benefits tree is a delay in the so-called “Cadillac” tax, which as originally enacted imposed a 40% nondeductible excise tax on insurers and self-funded health plans with respect to the cost of employer-sponsored health benefits exceeding statutory limits. The tax is now scheduled to take effect in 2020 rather than 2018. Once – or if – the delayed tax provision becomes effective, it will be deductible. The cost of this gift is $17.7 billion.

Since the Cadillac tax is basically unadministrable in its current form, we can’t imagine there is even one person at Treasury who would champion it. Expect a full repeal of the tax shortly after a new administration, whether Republican or Democrat, takes office in January 2017.

2.  Medical Device Excise Tax Suspended for 2016 and 2017 and Health Insurance Tax Suspended for 2017. The Affordable Care Act, as adopted in 2010, imposes an excise tax equal to 2.3% of the sales price of certain medical devices. Opponents of the medical device tax argued that it has been a drain on the economy and has halted investment in research and development for life-saving technologies. Many members of Congress agreed. Thus, a two-year

Dodd-Frank SEC Guidance Executive Compensation – Status

Dodd-Frank SEC Guidance Executive Compensation – Status

November 2, 2015

Authored by: benefitsbclp

With all the rulemaking required under the Dodd-Frank Act, it can sometimes be hard to keep up with the status of the various rules.  Below is a handy chart that details the current status of the various executive compensation rulemakings.  We plan to update this periodically for additional rulemakings, so be sure to come back and visit from time to time.

Last Updated: November 2, 2015

Provision Summary Status of SEC Rulemaking Say on Pay; Say on Golden Parachutes § 951 Requires advisory vote of shareholders on executive compensation and golden parachutes; advisory vote on frequency of say on pay

  • Final rule: adopted January 25, 2011; SEC Rel. No. 33-9178

Compensation Committee Independence § 952(includes comp consultant conflicts) Requires stock exchanges to adopt listing standards that require:

  • compensation committee members to be “independent;”
  • each committee must   have the authority to engage compensation advisers and before selecting any adviser, the committee must take into consideration specific independence factors; and
  • the committee must be directly responsible for the appointment, comp and oversight of the advisers and the company must provide funding.

Requires disclosure of whether the committee obtained advice of a comp consultant, and whether the work raised a conflict of interest and how it was addressed

  • Final rule: adopted June 20, 2012 requiring exchanges to adopt listing standards; SEC Rel. No. 33-9330
  • SEC approved listing standards in January 2013 exchanges subsequently adopted the required listing standards

Clawback Policy §

Illinois Introduces Mandatory Retirement Plan Law

January 20, 2015

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Illinois Introduces Mandatory Retirement Plan Law

January 20, 2015

Authored by: benefitsbclp

Illinois Welcome Sign

Earlier this month, Illinois became the first State to enact legislation that requires private-sector employers who do not offer qualified retirement plans to enroll their employees in individual retirement accounts (i.e., “IRAs”). Now-former Governor Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act (“Act”) into law on January 4, 2015.

The Act, which will become effective with enrollment occurring sometime in the next 24 months, has a broad reach. The following provides a high-level summary of the applicability of (and requirements under) the Act:

What Employers are Subject to the Act?

For any given year, the Act applies to any employer that:

  • Is a private for-profit or non-for-profit company engaged in business in Illinois;
  • Has been in business for at least two years;
  • Has employed at least 25 employees in Illinois at all times during the previous calendar year; and
  • Has not offered a qualified retirement plan (for example, a 401(k) or 403(b) plan) in the preceding two years.

An employer with fewer than 25 employees and/or that has been in business for less than two years may, but is not required to, participate in the program.

What Does the Act Require?

A private-sector employer that meets the above criteria will be required to either

The Ball Dropped on 2015 – Now Here’s Our “Top Ten” List for Fiduciaries

Happy New Year! As part of our annual tradition in helping retirement plan fiduciaries get started down the right path in the new year, we’re pleased to present our Top Ten New Year’s Countdown. But, wait, what’s better than a Top Ten Countdown list to kickoff 2015? How about a Top Ten list set to Pop Culture themes that dominated 2014? Well, here goes nothing…. Because we’re happy (clap along if you feel like a fiduciary without a roof):

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1. It’s all About The Fees, about the Fees, No trouble. Another year, another reminder (thank you, Meghan Trainor) that fees should be closely scrutinized by plan fiduciaries. Participant fee disclosures are not the new kid on the block anymore; however, fiduciaries should still ensure that all required fee disclosures are complete, accurate and made timely. Plan fiduciaries should also periodically monitor all fees charged against the plan’s assets to ensure reasonableness.

2. The DOL Ice Bucket Challenge – I challenge you, within 24 hours – to get your payroll remittances in…. The DOL has not receded from its firm position that employee deferrals segregated from corporate assets should be paid into the plan “as soon as reasonably practicable”. So, now is as good a time as any to visit with payroll and/or HR to make sure an air-tight process is in place for timely transmitting employee contributions and loan repayments to the plan. Sure,

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 labor debates in Congressional history, and the result is a compromise, or series of compromises, that demonstrate the ability of members of Congress, lobbyists and those holding on to “sacred cows” to come to a resolution in the best interest of the country.

ERISA has created jobs for numerous government employees in the agencies that write and enforce its broad and complex rules and their exceptions.  Attorneys, accountants, and actuaries who daily address these complex rules on behalf of clients have developed specialty practices in employee benefits.  RIAs, broker-dealers, investment advisors, third-party administrators, insurance salesmen,  and many others who spend

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.  In its most recent guidance on DFVC, the DOL announced that delinquent filers may not submit a Schedule SSA or a Form 8955-SSA under the DFVC program, even for 2008 and prior years.

In light of these changes in procedure, the IRS recently issued Notice 2014-35 to provide that a plan administrator who has not timely filed Form 5500 and all schedules and Form 8955-SSA for a year or years will not be subject to penalties under the Code if the plan administrator:

  1. Is eligible for and satisfies all of the requirements of the DFVC program for the applicable

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!

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