Signs Point to Yes: The IRS Advisory Committee Drops Hints That the Qualified Retirement Plan Determination Letter Program Might Return in Some Form

For many years, plan sponsors could regularly get a determination letter from the IRS to ensure that their individually-designed qualified retirement plan met all of the requirements for favorable tax treatment. However, in 2017 the IRS ended that practice. Since that time, plan sponsors have had no mechanism by which to confirm that their plans …

Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits No Longer Deductible for Employers

In the past, employers have been able to deduct expenses related to “qualified transportation fringe benefits” (“QTFBs”) such as qualified parking, transit passes, transportation in commuter highway vehicles, or qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements. Pub. L. No. 115-97, commonly referred to as the “2017 Tax Act” or the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (“TCJA”), however, has …

The Sixth Circuit Reminds Plan Sponsors of the Importance of Firestone “Magic Words” for ERISA Plan Interpretation

A recent ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals acts as an important reminder to ERISA plan sponsors that reserving the written right to interpret plan documents may be critical in interpreting otherwise ambiguous language. The Firestone Language In the 1989 case Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. v. Bruch, 489 U.S. 101 (1989), the …

The PBGC’s Missing Participant Program Now Allows Terminating Defined Contribution Plans to Participate

Especially upon plan termination, locating missing participants can be a major headache for plan sponsors, who have a fiduciary obligation to locate participants and distribute benefits under the terminating plan. In one development that may help in this regard, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) issued final regulations that expand, revise and simplify its Missing …

The Good News and the Bad News: IRS Changes Fee Schedule for the Voluntary Correction Program for Tax-Qualified Retirement Plans

Buried under the news of tax reform and deep within an annual bulletin, the IRS has announced reduced fees for corrections made pursuant to its Voluntary Correction Program (“VCP”). However, fees will not be lower in every circumstance.  The EPCRS Program  Plan sponsors that make mistakes with respect to the operation or documentation of their …

Tax Reform: The Five Big Changes Affecting Employee Benefits

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed H.R. 1 (formerly, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (the “Act”)) into law. While the Act was primarily focused on business tax cuts and individual tax reform, the Act includes several provisions that have implications for employee benefits and executive compensation. 1.  Compensation Deduction Limits for Publicly Traded …

Penalties are Coming: The IRS to Begin Enforcing the Affordable Care Act’s Employer Mandate

The IRS has taken actions indicating that the employer mandate penalties under the Affordable Care Act are about to be enforced. Employers should expect to begin receiving letters from the IRS indicating penalties are due for the 2015 year in the coming weeks. There are a few things that employers can do to be prepared …

The IRS Announces Updated Limitations Related to Employer Plans; 401(k) Contribution Limit Increases to $18,500 for 2018

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for employer plans for tax year 2018. The IRS issued technical guidance detailing these items in Notice 2017-64, in addition to previous guidance in Rev. Proc. 2017-37 and Rev. Proc. 2017-58. Many of the limitations will change because the increase in the …