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Notice 2018-76: Taking a Bite Out of the Business Expense Deductions for Meals, Entertainment

On October 3, 2018, the IRS issued transitional guidance in Notice 2018-76 concerning the business expense deductions for meals and entertainment following the changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) — which generally disallowed a deduction for expenses related to entertainment, amusement or recreation, but did not specifically address the deductibility of … Continue Reading

The President Urges Regulatory Action to Expand Access to Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

On August 31, 2018, President Trump issued an Executive Order (the “Order”) calling on the Department of Labor (“DOL”) and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) to consider issuing regulations and guidance directed at expanding the availability of employer-sponsored retirement plans.  The Order mainly takes aim at the availability of retirement plans to all employees, noting … 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

IRS Finalizes Regulations Allowing Plan Forfeitures to Fund QNECS and QMACS

The IRS recently finalized regulations that allow 401(k) plans to use forfeiture money to fund qualified non-elective contributions (“QNECs”) and qualified matching contributions (“QMACs”).  These regulations finalize proposed regulations issued last year (you can read our prior coverage of the proposed regulations here). By way of background, QNECs and QNECs are types of employer contributions … 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

Blockchain Tokens as Compensation

Blockchain is a revolutionary technological tool in the way it tracks and stores data, decentralizes information, establishes trust in electronic files, and dispenses of intermediaries. This technology powers virtual currencies, also known as cryptocurrency or virtual tokens. Companies are raising money using “initial coin offerings” (ICOs) and using tokens to compensate and incentivize founders, directors, … Continue Reading

IRS Reverses the $50 HSA Reduction for 2018

We recently informed you that the IRS reduced the 2018 health savings account (“HSA”) contribution limit for individuals with family coverage to $6,850.00 despite having previously announced that such limit was $6,900.  Because of compelling comments from stakeholders, the IRS reversed this decision in Revenue Procedure 2018-27 and the contribution limit for individuals with family … Continue Reading

IRS Reduces HSA Contribution Amount for Current Year

In 2017, the IRS released the 2018 inflation-adjusted figures for contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).  The contribution limits for HSAs associated with High Deductible Health Plans was increased to $3,450 for individuals with self-only coverage and to $6,900 for individuals with family coverage.  In December, the President signed the tax reform bill commonly known … Continue Reading

IRS Announces Heightened Scrutiny for Tax-Exempt Entities

The IRS division tasked with ensuring tax-exempt entities comply with relevant tax laws has announced that beginning in fiscal year 2018, it will focus on examining charitable organizations that show indicators of “private benefit or inurement.” Consequently, non-profit entities will want to review their business operations, hiring practices, and compensation packages to ascertain whether indicators … 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

Are You Computing Your Maximum Participant Loan Amount Correctly (or in the Best Interest of Your Plan Participants)?

In late April 2017, the IRS issued a Memorandum for Employee Plans (EP) Examinations Employees providing two alternatives for computing the maximum participant loan amount when the participant has prior loans. Prior to this Memorandum, the law was not clear concerning how to compute the maximum loan amount where a participant had taken a previous … Continue Reading

Be Wary of Designs to Avoid Employment Taxes through Wellness Plan Benefits

We are aware that employers are being marketed various types of benefit arrangements designed to reduce the employer’s tax obligations by using a combination of wellness programs, voluntary benefits, and cafeteria plans. Not surprisingly, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has taken interest in these designs and has provided guidance which may dampen the enthusiasm for … Continue Reading

DOL Continues Investigating Defined Benefit Plans Regarding Procedures for Locating Participants and Paying Benefits at Mandatory Retirement Age

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) publicized last year its stepped up enforcement efforts inquiring about procedures used by larger defined benefit plans for locating, and then beginning payment of benefits to, terminated vested participants who have reached the age when the plan mandates benefits must begin. Those audit activities are continuing. For years, the … Continue Reading

401(k) and 403(b) Plan Hardship Distribution Substantiation: What Will the IRS Be Looking For?

On February 23 and March 7, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued memoranda to examination agents addressing review of substantiation provided in support of safe harbor hardship distributions under 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Although the memoranda cannot be relied upon as official guidance, they are good reference points to help plan sponsors and third … Continue Reading

IRS to Process Tax Returns That Lack Certification of ACA-Required Coverage

In the wake of the President’s January 20, 2017 Executive Order directing a reduction in regulatory burdens imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the IRS has quietly announced that it will continue to process income tax returns lacking confirmation that the taxpayer has maintained ACA-required health coverage. The ACA requires that taxpayers who do … Continue Reading

Church Plan Cases: Federal Agencies Finally Speak

As many of you know, currently pending before the Supreme Court are consolidated cases from the Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits holding that, for religiously affiliated employers, employee benefits plans must initially be established by a church for the plans to be exempt from ERISA as “church plans.” The circuit courts issued these holdings when, … Continue Reading
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