Jeffrey P. Cairns

Jeffrey P. Cairns

Stinson Leonard Street

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Embezzlement of 401(k) Deferrals by COO of Architecture Firm is (Doubly) Costly

On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled against Christine Bodouva that her restoration of funds to her Company’s 401(k) Plan should be offset against the District Court’s order for forfeiture...more

3/28/2017 - 401k Appeals Criminal Prosecution Disgorgement Embezzlement Employee Benefits ERISA Fiduciary Duty Indictments Retirement Plan

IRS Issues Substantiation Guidelines for 401(k) Hardship Distributions

On February 23, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service issued a “Memorandum for Employee Plans (EP) Examinations Employees,” outlining Substantiation Guidelines for safe harbor hardship distributions from 401(k) plans...more

3/2/2017 - 401k Distribution Rules Employee Benefits Hardship Distributions IRS Retirement Plan

Owner/Trustee of 401(k) Plan Accused of Having Eyes Wide Shut on Fiduciary Duties

Last June I blogged about the trend of participant fee class actions moving down to smaller 401(k) Plans. Occasionally, class actions are brought based on other breaches of fiduciary duties, particularly those involving...more

10/25/2016 - 401k Adverse Employment Action Breach of Duty Class Action Employee Benefits ERISA Fiduciary Duty Financial Markets Florida Hiring & Firing Investment Funds Investment Management Retaliation Retirement Plan Stock Drop Litigation Whistleblowers Wrongful Termination

Inside Trustees for Small Minnesota 401(k) Plan Face Class Action Over Excessive Fees

A Minneapolis law firm recently filed a class action complaint against Lamettry’s Collision, Inc. and the Trustees of its 401(k) Plan, CFO Stephen Daniel and President Joan Lamettry for various breaches of fiduciary duty with...more

6/1/2016 - 401k Breach of Duty Class Action Employee Benefits ERISA Excessive Fees Fiduciary Duty Retirement Plan Tibble v Edison Int

IRS Relaxes Rules for Mid-Year Changes

Since its availability, many 401(k) plan sponsors, particularly smaller employers have adopted a “Safe Harbor” plan design under Code Section 401(k)(12) or (13) and 401(m)(11) or (12). Safe Harbor plan designs include both a...more

2/2/2016 - 401k DOL Employee Benefits Employer Contributions IRS Retirement Plan Safe Harbors Withdrawal Liability

Another ROBS Gone Wrong – IRS Disqualifies ESOP

On November 23, 2015 the U.S. Tax Court issued a declaratory judgment that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not abuse its discretion in issuing a Letter of Revocation of the tax qualified status of the Fleming...more

1/5/2016 - Declaratory Judgments Employee Benefits ESOP IRS Revocation ROBS

Federal Court Determines that Employer Use of Employee Health Insurance Premium Payments Breach of ERISA Fiduciary Duties

On November 9, 2015, Minnesota Federal District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled that the president and CEO of Faribault Woolen Mills Company breached his fiduciary duties under ERISA by diverting Employee health insurance...more

11/17/2015 - DOL Employee Benefits ERISA Fiduciary Duty Health Insurance

IRS Annual Limits on Qualified Plans

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released the 2016 cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans and health savings accounts, which are largely...more

10/26/2015 - 401k Cost-of-Living Defined Benefit Plans Employee Benefits Employee Contributions ESOP HDHP Health Savings Accounts IRS Qualified Benefit Plans Qualified Retirement Plans Retirement Plan

IRS Annual Limits on Qualified Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2016 cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans and health savings accounts, which are largely unchanged...more

10/22/2015 - Contribution Limits Cost-of-Living Defined Benefit Plans Defined Contribution Plans Employee Benefits ESOP Health Savings Accounts IRS Retirement Plan

Can an LLC Adopt an ESOP? IRS Says Yes

In a private letter ruling released on September 18, 2015 (PLR 201538021), the Internal Revenue Service concluded that an employer organized as a limited liability company (LLC) under a state statute, upon making a federal...more

10/21/2015 - Employee Benefits ESOP Internal Revenue Code (IRC) IRS Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Supreme Court: 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries Have An Ongoing Duty To Monitor

In April 2013 I reported on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Tibble v. Edison International which involved an alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the Edison 401(k) Savings Plan committee selecting six retail...more

5/22/2015 - 401k Appeals Due Diligence Employee Benefits ERISA Fiduciary Duty Mutual Funds Retirement Plan SCOTUS Tibble v Edison Int

Ameriprise Avoids Trial On Class Action Suit By Current and Former Employees With $27.5 Million Payment

In 2011, a group of current and former employees filed a class action lawsuit in the District Court of Minnesota claiming that Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and members of its 401(k) Plan fiduciary committee had breached their...more

4/1/2015 - 401k Ameriprise Financial Benefit Plan Sponsors Breach of Duty Class Action Employer Liability Issues Former Employee Investment Funds Non-Judicial Settlement Agreements Popular

DOL Gives Retirement Plan Sponsors of Participant Directed Retirement Plans Additional Time to Provide Employee Fee Disclosures

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations require 401(k) plan fiduciaries to provide plan participants with a detailed disclosure statement about the plan’s designated investment alternatives, prior to initial enrollment and...more

3/20/2015 - 401k Benefit Plan Sponsors Disclosure Requirements DOL EBSA Fee Disclosure Retirement Plan

Department Of Labor And AICPA Comment On Deficient Employee Benefit Plan Audits

At a recent American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (”AICPA”) conference, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration reportedly commented that the ERISA...more

12/10/2014 - AICPA Audits DOL ERISA Qualified Benefit Plans

Lost Participant? Did you Try Google?

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the U.S. Department of Labor recently updated its guidance to retirement plan fiduciaries on due diligence and efforts to locate missing participants in the case of...more

8/22/2014 - DOL Due Diligence EBSA Lost Participants Popular Retirement Plan

Filed Your 2013 Health and Welfare Plan 5500s? Did you Include Your M-1 Attachments?

A provision of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) included additional reporting requirements and greater U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) oversight of Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs). The DOL’s Employee...more

8/4/2014 - Affordable Care Act DOL EBSA Employee Benefits Filing Requirements Health and Welfare Plans Healthcare MEWAs Multiemployer Plan

Too Much Discretion With Respect To Annual Bonuses May Cause Deferral Of The Employer’s Deduction

In an IRS Field Attorney Advice Memorandum (FAA 20134301F) dated September 18, 2013, the IRS Office of Chief Counsel reviewed several common bonus plan designs in connection with a request for an opinion with regard to the...more

12/3/2013 - Bonuses IRS Tax Deductions

IRS Issues Final Regulations On Permitted Mid-Year Reductions Or Suspensions Of Safe Harbor Contributions

In Final Regulations issued under Internal Revenue Code Section 401(k) in 2004, the IRS outlined procedures for revoking a safe harbor matching contribution formula after the beginning of a safe harbor plan year. Under those...more

11/21/2013 - 401k Employer Contributions IRS Safe Harbors

Federal Agencies Issue Guidance That Valid Same Sex Marriages Recognized For All Federal Tax Purposes

On August 29, 2013, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued a public announcement and released Revenue Ruling 2013-17 wherein it answered a number of open questions concerning the impact of the U.S....more

9/19/2013 - DOL DOMA Employee Benefits IRS Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS State of Celebration Tax Refunds U.S. Treasury US v Windsor

Labor Advises On Fiduciary Treatment Of Revenue Sharing Payments

On July 3, 2013 the Employee Benefits Security Administration issued ERISA Advisory Opinion 2013-03A (the “AO”) to the Groom Law Group which had submitted a request on behalf of Principal Life Insurance Company (“Principal”)....more

8/9/2013 - ERISA Fiduciary Duty Form 5500 Life Insurance Revenue Sharing

Department Of Labor Extends Deadline For Required Annual Fee Disclosures For Participants

On July 22, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2013-02 (the “FAB”)....more

7/30/2013 - Deadlines Delays Disclosure Requirements DOL EBSA

Supreme Court Strikes Down Federal Defense Of Marriage Act – Open Questions For Benefit Plan Sponsors

On June 26, 2013, in a 5-4 vote the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 1993 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional as a violation of Fifth Amendment guarantees of equal protection and equal liberty....more

7/17/2013 - DOMA Employee Benefits Equal Protection Income Taxes Pensions Profit Sharing Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS US v Windsor

The White House Blog: Employer Mandate Under The Affordable Care Act Delayed For One Year

On July 2 the White House announced that it is delaying the enforcement of the employer mandate that it provide health care coverage to employees or pay a penalty (the “play or pay” provisions) until 2015....more

7/5/2013 - Affordable Care Act Deadlines Delays Employer Mandates Enforcement Healthcare Pay or Play Shared Responsibility Rule Tax Penalties U.S. Treasury

Next Stop: IRS Compliance Checks Of Non-Governmental 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plans

Recently the Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) of the Internal Revenue Service completed an informal compliance check of 401(k) plans conducted via an extensive written questionnaire sent to plan sponsors. ...more

6/27/2013 - 401k Deferred Compensation Exempt Organizations IRS Retirement Plan

IRS Issues Q&As On Affordable Care Act Research Trust Fund Fees – First Filings Due July 31, 2013

The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes a number of new taxes and fees to be assessed to pay for many of the new federal health care mandates....more

6/14/2013 - Affordable Care Act Fees Form 720 Healthcare IRS PCORI

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