Isabel Safie

Isabel Safie

Best Best & Krieger LLP

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Latest Publications


New Law Enables Small Employers to Resume Health Reimbursement Arrangements

One of the unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act had been the elimination of health reimbursement arrangements as a tool for small employers to avoid the complexities of maintaining a group health plan and the...more

1/10/2017 - 21st Century Cures Act Affordable Care Act Employee Benefits Employer Group Health Plans HRA Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Plan (QSEHRAs) Small Employers

21st Century Cures Act Permits Standalone HRAs for Small Employers

The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 13, permits small employers to offer standalone health reimbursement arrangements that may reimburse individual market insurance premiums, among other...more

12/27/2016 - 21st Century Cures Act Employee Benefits Employer Group Health Plans HRA Small Employers

Recent Guidance Expands on Affordable Care Act Implementation Rules

Changes could have a significant impact on existing benefit programs - The IRS issued a new notice on Wednesday that provides guidance regarding aspects of Affordable Care Act implementation. The following are addressed...more

12/21/2015 - Affordable Care Act Benefit Plan Sponsors Cadillac Tax COBRA IRS

King v. Burwell: The Supreme Court Prevents Millions of People from Losing Health Insurance

Health insurance subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act will continue to be available regardless of whether states establish their own health care exchanges or rely on the federal government to establish a health care...more

7/10/2015 - Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Health Insurance Exchanges King v Burwell SCOTUS State Health Insurance Exchanges

BEST IN LAW: Employers need to heed Obamacare Reporting Rules

Compliance with reporting obligations is always important for any employer, but the employer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act pack a significant penalty that makes compliance particularly...more

3/25/2015 - Affordable Care Act Employer Group Health Plans Filing Deadlines Health Insurance IRS Large Employer Minimum Essential Coverage Penalties Reporting Requirements Self-Insured Health Plans W-2

Charitable Hospital Organizations and the Affordable Care Act

The IRS has issued final regulations providing guidance on certain complex requirements imposed on charitable hospital organizations added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Specifically, the...more

3/12/2015 - Affordable Care Act Charitable Organizations CHNA Hospitals IRS Non-Profit Hospitals Reporting Requirements

Congress Passes Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 and Retroactively Extends Tax Relief Provisions

Welcome Tax Relief Provided to Individuals and Businesses Extended through Calendar Year 2014 - The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 retroactively extends, through Dec. 31, various individual and business tax relief...more

12/30/2014 - Corporate Taxes Income Taxes Tax Extenders

For Some CalPERS Employers, Withdrawing from CalPERS is Not Feasible, So Why Not Look at Alternatives?

An article published in Thursday’s edition of The Bond Buyer highlights a rising concern of counties, cities and special districts that provide retirement benefits to their employees through the CalPERS pension plan: That,...more

9/30/2014 - CalPERS Municipalities Qualified Retirement Plans Vested Rights Doctrine Withdrawal Liability

Play-or-Pay Reprieve for Some Employers

Certain employers may be eligible for a delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act’s employer-shared responsibility mandate, also known as the play-or-pay rules, according to the final rules that were released in...more

4/2/2014 - Affordable Care Act Employer Mandates Healthcare Pay or Play

Tax Traps of Employment Documents [Video]

IRS employment tax audits are rising and as such, it’s important for employers to understand what to look for in their employee benefit programs to avoid any adverse tax findings. This brief video outlines some of the most...more

2/24/2014 - Audits Employment Tax IRS

Bankrupt San Bernardino is Tackling Pension Obligations Head-On

An interesting article in yesterday’s The Sacramento Bee highlights the importance of finding a way to bring our public pension liabilities under control to maintain the fiscal integrity of our state and local governments....more

2/24/2014 - Municipal Bankruptcy

Ninth Circuit Sides with Orange County in Retiree Health Benefits Case

A Practice or Policy without Clear Legislative Intent Does Not Create Implied Contractual Right to Retiree Health Benefits - A federal appellate court has affirmed a U.S. District Court’s decision to grant Orange...more

2/20/2014 - Benefit Plan Sponsors Employee Benefits Retirement Plan

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act's Play or Pay Rules Eased for Mid-Sized Employers

Transition Guidance Included in the Final Regulations Postpones Implementation for Many Employers - Yesterday, the Department of the Treasury released the final regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act’s...more

2/12/2014 - Affordable Care Act Delays Employee Benefits Employer Mandates Healthcare Pay or Play

MyRA Will Offer Retirement Accounts to Employees Without Access Through Employers

It is estimated that nearly half of American employees do not have access to retirement plans sponsored by their employers. President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he would be ordering the Department...more

2/7/2014 - Barack Obama IRA MyRA Retirement Plan State of the Union

BB&K's Isabel Safie Discusses the Implications of IRS’ Definition of Governmental Plan Status [Video]

The IRS’ proposed rules to determine governmental plan status are impacting public agencies looking to join a CalPERS benefit plan....more

2/6/2014 - Benefit Plan Sponsors CalPERS Employee Benefits IRS

U.S. Department of Treasury Directed to Create "myRA"

New Retirement Savings Account Aimed at those Without Access to Such Plans Through Their Employer - President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he would be ordering the Department of the Treasury...more

2/6/2014 - Barack Obama IRA IRS MyRA Retirement State of the Union U.S. Treasury

CalPERS Clarifies Rules for Hiring Retirees

Long-Awaited Guidance Details Requirements for Employing CalPERS Retirees - The rules on employing retirees of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) have been subject to numerous changes in the...more

1/17/2014 - CalPERS Compliance Hiring & Firing Retirement Plan

Court's Tentative Decision on San Jose's Pension Reform Measure Appears to Favor City

However, the Vested Rights Doctrine Proves Fatal to Core Pension Reform Measures - A tentative decision on the legal challenges to the City of San Jose’s pension reform measure, Measure B, was released late last month....more

1/13/2014 - COLA Defined Benefit Plans Human Resources Professionals Municipalities Pensions Public Employees Public Employers Retirement Plan Vested Rights Doctrine

California Mayors Propose Game-Changing Pension Reform: The Act Will Permit Public Employers to Modify Benefits of Current...

In October, five California mayors proposed a statewide initiative – The Pension Reform Act of 2014 (Act) – which, if approved, will amend the California Constitution. The Act was amended last month for the principal purpose...more

12/11/2013 - Employee Benefits Pensions Public Employees Retiree Drug Expenses Unions Vested Rights Doctrine

Employers May Allow Unused Amounts in Health FSAs to be Carried Forward for An Entire Year

IRS Guidance Provides An Alternative to the Current “Grace Period Rule” - The Internal Revenue Service recently released Notice 2013-71, which provides an alternative to the Grace Period Rule for health flexible...more

11/5/2013 - Carryover Basis Flexible Spending Accounts Healthcare IRS

New California Law Further Restricts Nonprofit Organizations From Engaging in Campaign Activity

Restricted Resources Include Cash, Office Supplies and Other Property Received From Local Agencies - A new California law prohibits nonprofit organizations from using monies and other property received from local...more

10/23/2013 - Campaign Contributions Non-Profits Political Campaigns

Deadline Fast Approaching for the Health Insurance Exchange Notice - Notices Must be Given to Current Employees by October 1

The Affordable Care Act requires employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to notify employees of the coverage options available through state insurance exchanges, such as Covered California. Notice must be...more

9/18/2013 - Affordable Care Act FLSA Health Insurance Exchanges Marketplace Notice Notice Requirements

IRS Guidance Released on the Delayed Implementation of the Affordable Care Act's Play or Pay Rules - Penalties Will Not Apply to...

On the heels of last week’s announcement that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) reporting requirements and Play or Pay penalties will not go into effect until 2015, the IRS has released transition relief clarifying that the...more

7/11/2013 - Affordable Care Act Compliance Deadlines Delays Employer Mandates Fees Form 720 Healthcare IRS Pay or Play PCORI Penalties U.S. Treasury

The Affordable Care Act's Play or Pay Rules Have Been Delayed - Large Employers Will Not be Subject to Penalties for Failure to...

On Tuesday, the Administration announced that the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility payments, better known as the Play or Pay rules, will not go into effect until 2015....more

7/4/2013 - Affordable Care Act Delays Employer Mandates Pay or Play Shared Responsibility Rule Tax Penalties U.S. Treasury

What the DOMA and Prop. 8 Decisions Mean for Employers - Last Week’s Decisions Will Impact Employer-Provided Benefits

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that the Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA) definition of marriage is unconstitutional. The Court's decision and the decisions allowing same-sex marriage to resume in California will have...more

7/2/2013 - DOMA Employee Benefits Equal Protection Estate Tax Health Insurance Hollingsworth v Perry Income Taxes Proposition 8 Retirement Plan Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS Standing US v Windsor

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