Archives: Dealing with the IRS on Employee Benefit Issues

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The IRS Doesn’t Disappoint…Again

As imagined by plan sponsors of closed defined benefit pension plans, the IRS issued Notice 201-49, the fifth extension for an additional year of the temporary nondiscrimination relief for “closed” defined benefit pension plans originally announced by the IRS during 2014.  The extended relief applies to plan years beginning before 2021 for those “closed” plans … Continue Reading

Beginning in 2020, Employers May Reimburse Health Insurance Premiums as an Alternative to a Traditional Group Health Plan (Subject to Several Requirements)

Many employers have contacted us over the years asking whether they may offer an “employer–payment plan” rather than offer a traditional group health insurance plan.  An employer-payment plan is a type of account-based plan that provides an employee reimbursement for all or a portion of the premium expense for individual health insurance coverage or other … Continue Reading

The IRS Reopens the Determination Letter Program for Merged Plans and Cash Balance Plans

On May 1, 2019, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2019-20, which reopens the determination letter program in a limited manner for individually designed plans that are merged plans or statutory hybrid plans, such as cash balance plans. The new IRS guidance provides that sponsors of merged plans may request determination letters going forward, while sponsors … Continue Reading

Is Your Employer Worksite Medical Clinic a Group Health Plan?

Worksite medical clinics, some offering round-the-clock access to medical providers via telemedicine, seem to be growing in popularity.  Promoters tout cost savings resulting from what would otherwise be lost productivity (employees whiling away afternoons waiting to see their private doctors or having to drive long distances to have blood drawn for routine laboratory work) and … Continue Reading

THEY’RE HEEEEERRRREE!! But Have No Fear – Long Awaited Changes to EPCRS Are Good News for Plan Sponsors

Long on the wish list of practitioners and plan sponsors alike, self-correction of certain common plan document issues and loan failures is finally an option under the Internal Revenue Service’s Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS”), newly minted via Rev. Proc. 2019-19. It is no secret that the IRS is continually dealing with reduced budgets … Continue Reading

IRS CORRECTION PROGRAM, NOW MORE EFFICIENT

In 2008, the IRS established a voluntary correction program aimed at plan sponsors and administrators to encourage resolution of plan document or operational failures as soon as they are discovered. The Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System, or “EPCRS” as it is most often called, stresses the importance of established administrative practices and procedures to avoid … Continue Reading

The IRS Doesn’t Disappoint

As anticipated by plan sponsors of closed defined benefit pension plans, the IRS issued Notice 2018-69, the fourth extension for an additional year of the temporary nondiscrimination relief for “closed” defined benefit pension plans originally announced by the IRS during 2014.  The extended relief applies to plan years beginning before 2020 for those “closed” plans … Continue Reading

You’ve Discovered A Mistake in Your Plan Administration – Now What?

Occasionally qualified plan administrators discover that their plans have incurred an operational error.  The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) recognizes that it needs the help of plan administrators to police the administration of qualified plans and has correspondingly published guidance to help plan administrators take appropriate corrective action where necessary. IRS Correction Alternatives Revenue Procedure 2016-51, … Continue Reading

Your Not So Kind (or Welcome) Early Holiday Gift from the IRS: Letter 226j

On more than one occasion since passing the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), the IRS has given some type of early holiday “gift” to alleviate pending compliance concerns for employers. One of the most significant of these occurred in late December 2015, when the IRS extended the mandated filing periods for Forms 1094/1095, which gave employers … Continue Reading

IRS Publishes Guidance Allowing Taxpayers to Self-Certify An Excuse from the 60-day Rollover Rule in Specified Hardship Scenarios

If you ask, plan administrators will tell you that for every deadline or specified time limit that is imposed by law upon plan participants for taking action with respect to an employee benefit plan, there are always a significant number of participants who come forward with one or more “excuses” why they could not meet … Continue Reading

Employers Wonder How to Respond to Marketplace Notices

Many employers have begun receiving Health Insurance Marketplace notices – letters stating that a particular employee reported that he or she wasn’t offered affordable minimum value coverage for one or more months during 2016.  The letter states that the employee has been determined to be eligible for subsidized Marketplace coverage.  This means, if the employer … Continue Reading

Will Your Forfeiture Account Disqualify Your 401(k) Plan?

In the last six months, several clients called me regarding substantial balances in a so-called “forfeiture account” in their 401(k) plans.  A few of these clients have forfeiture accounts that violate the ERISA requirements.  It is imperative that forfeitures be handled properly since both the IRS and the Department of Labor (DOL) on audit generally … Continue Reading

THE RETROACTIVE AMENDMENT FIX FOR PLAN OPERATIONAL FAILURES

Frequently a plan sponsor’s operational failure to follow the terms of its 401(k) or other qualified plan can be corrected under the IRS’s Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS”) (described at http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/EPCRS-Overview) with a retroactive amendment instead of a sometimes expensive financial correction. This possibility should not be surprising, given that the maintenance of qualified … Continue Reading

Employers Take Note! IRS Improves Certain Retirement Plan Correction Procedures

The Internal Revenue Service encourages employers and other retirement plan sponsors to voluntarily and timely correct plan failures to help ensure the plans’ ongoing tax-qualified status (and tax-favored treatment). However, in some cases, the IRS’ Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS” – most recently restated in Revenue Procedure 2013-12) correction method for minor errors results … Continue Reading

Outsourcing Payroll? IRS Guidance Helps Employers Understand Their Rights and Responsibilities

Many employers decide to outsource their payroll administration to third-party vendors. Many employers who decide to hire a third-party vendor anticipate that the vendor understands how to fill out the forms necessary to the reporting of income and employment taxes; comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reporting obligations; and to properly calculate … Continue Reading

Employee Relief Charities – The Unbenefit That Keeps On Giving

Especially during the holidays, but also throughout the year, both employers and employees often seek a means of financially assisting distressed coworkers and their families. The various methods of targeting relief to employees are summarized in IRS Publication 3833, DISASTER RELIEF, PROVIDING ASSISTANCE THROUGH CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3833.pdf.  Some employers establish a “donor-advised fund” or … Continue Reading

Affordable Care Act Employer Penalties – Another Reason to Make Sure Workers are Properly Classified as Employees or Independent Contractors

Beginning next year, an applicable large employer that does not offer affordable minimum value group health coverage to its fulltime employees (and their children up to age 26) will be vulnerable to employer shared responsibility penalties under Internal Revenue Code §4980H.  Whether an employer is an “applicable large employer” depends on its number of fulltime … Continue Reading

IRS Rules: All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes

The Internal Revenue Service issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17 answering some, but not all, questions for employers in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s opinion that invalidated the federal law that confined marriage to a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife – United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307 (June … Continue Reading

IRS Updates Correction Procedures for Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service issued updated correction procedures for employer-sponsored retirement plans on New Years’ Eve. Revenue Procedure 2013-12 updates the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS”) previously set forth in Revenue Procedure 2008-50.  Now, nonprofit employers sponsoring 403(b) plans can correct document failures with the IRS’s blessing. A 403(b) plan document failure can be corrected … Continue Reading

IRS Extends Deadline to Amend Certain Defined Pension Plans

The IRS has extended the deadline for amending many defined benefits pension plans under Internal Revenue Code Section 436. Section 436 was added by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (“PPA”) and provides a series of limitations on the accrual and payment of benefits under an underfunded plan. (For more information, see Your Defined Benefit … Continue Reading

IRS Voluntary Classification Settlement Program – Watch Your Step!

The Internal Revenue Service has announced its Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (“VCSP”) offering relief to certain employers from unpaid employment taxes, penalties and interest that may result from misclassification of workers.  The IRS’s September 21, 2011, Announcement 2011-64 and “Frequently Asked Questions” (published on September 30) explains that the VCSP allows employers to correct misclassification … Continue Reading

Plan Participants May be Assessed Penalties as a Result of DOJ Suit Against Welfare Benefit Plan

Participants in the Professional Benefits Trust (“PBT”) may be in danger of having to pay the United States Treasury 50% of their assets in penalties for each year of participation in PBT. The assets of the purported welfare benefit plan were moved off shore and deposited into the Mavin foreign insurance company and into Acadia annuities. … Continue Reading

Plan Trustees & Committees With FBAR Reporting Obligations – June 30th Deadline

Reports required under Foreign Bank Account Reporting or “FBAR” laws and regulations must be submitted to the U.S. Department of the Treasury on or before June 30, 2011. Individuals with a financial interest in foreign financial accounts (including foreign bank accounts, securities and certain insurance and annuities) or with signatory or other authority over such accounts … Continue Reading
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