W. Mark Smith

W. Mark Smith

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

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Treasury Announces 2016-2017 Regulatory Agenda for Employee Benefits

The principal regulators of U.S. employee benefits have recently published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months. ..On August 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service...more

8/26/2016 - DOL Employee Benefits Executive Compensation Guidance Update Health Insurance IRS Retirement Plan U.S. Treasury

The Final Rule: Technical Corrections to Best Interest Contract and Principal Transaction Exemptions

On July 7, 2016, DOL released technical corrections to its two new exemptions published in April 2016 in conjunction with the Final Rule: ..The Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE), now officially designated as...more

7/13/2016 - Best Interest Contract Exemptions DOL ERISA Fiduciary Duty Final Rules Financial Institutions PTEs

Don’t be Phased by Annuity Treatment: Taxation of Distributions During Phased Retirement

On June 10, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2016-39 in response to inquiries regarding the appropriate tax treatment under section 72 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) for payments received by an...more

6/21/2016 - Annuities Benefit Plan Sponsors Defined Benefit Plans IRS New Guidance Part-Time Employees Retirement

DOL and Treasury Update 2015-2016 Regulatory Agendas for Employee Benefits

The principal regulators of U.S. employee benefits have recently published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months. On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated its Semi-Annual Regulatory...more

5/27/2016 - DOL Employee Benefits Executive Compensation IRS Priority Guidance Plan Regulatory Agenda Retirement Plan U.S. Treasury

Taking Stock in Related-Party Debt: Regulations Propose Sweeping Changes

On April 4, the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released proposed regulations under IRC § 385 (the Proposed Regulations) that are intended to combat perceived concerns associated with indebtedness between...more

4/8/2016 - Comment Period Creditors Debt Income Taxes IRS Multi-Factor Test Proposed Regulation Record Retention Related Parties Required Documentation Stocks U.S. Treasury

2015 in Review: ERISA Civil Enforcement Recoveries Remain Low, Criminal Investigations Continue to Rise

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) recently published its Fiscal Year 2015 “Fact Sheet” documenting civil and criminal enforcement activities under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)....more

2/10/2016 - Civil Monetary Penalty Corporate Counsel Criminal Prosecution DOL Enforcement Statistics ERISA

DOL and Treasury Update 2015-2016 Regulatory Agendas for Employee Benefits

The principal regulators of U.S. employee benefits have recently published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months. On November 19, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated its Semi-Annual...more

1/8/2016 - DOL Employee Benefits Employer Group Health Plans Executive Compensation IRS Regulatory Agenda U.S. Treasury

Labor Department Provides Guidance on ERISA Coverage of State-Run Retirement Programs for Private Sector Employers

In recent years, a number of states have explored the idea of establishing state-run retirement plans for private sector employees who do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. The preemption concerns under...more

11/24/2015 - Comment Period Corporate Counsel DOL ERISA Payroll Deductions Preemption Retirement Plan Safe Harbors

DOL and Treasury Update 2015-2016 Regulatory Agendas for Employee Benefits

The principal regulators of U.S. employee benefits have recently published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months. On May 21, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated its Semi-Annual Regulatory...more

9/10/2015 - DOL Employee Benefits Regulatory Agenda U.S. Treasury

DOL Has Many Questions About its Fiduciary Reproposal

As has been widely reported, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on April 14 issued its proposal to expand the definition of investment advice fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). DOL included...more

6/1/2015 - 401k DOL ERISA Fiduciary Duty FINRA Retirement Plan

Supreme Court Instructs Ninth Circuit to Consider Common Law of Trusts in Applying ERISA's Statute of Limitations

The Supreme Court has once again emphasized the importance of ERISA’s origins in the common law of trusts, this time in interpreting its statute of limitations. On May 18, the Court reversed the Ninth Circuit’s decision in...more

5/21/2015 - Breach of Duty Common Law Claims ERISA Fiduciary Duty Investment Funds Mutual Funds SCOTUS Statute of Limitations Tibble v Edison Int Trusts

DOL Reproposes Expanded ERISA Fiduciary Definition and Revised Complex of Exemptions

On April 14, 2015, after 43 months in development, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its reproposal to expand the “investment advice fiduciary” definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974,...more

4/22/2015 - Benefit Plan Sponsors DOL ERISA ESOP Fiduciary Duty Investment Adviser IRS Qualified Retirement Plans

2014 in Review: ERISA Civil and Criminal Enforcement Activity by DOL Is Trending Upward

The Fact Sheet recently published by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) documenting Fiscal Year 2014 civil and criminal enforcement activity under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA) showed...more

3/25/2015 - DOL Employer Liability Issues Enforcement Actions ERISA Strategic Enforcement Plan

DOL Provides More Timing Flexibility for Annual Participant Investment Disclosures

As promised, on March 19, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published guidance that would provide more flexibility in the timing of the annual plan and investment disclosures for participant-directed defined...more

3/20/2015 - Defined Contribution Plans Disclosure Requirements DOL ERISA New Guidance

FY 2016 Budget Tax Proposals Target Insurance Companies

On February 2, the Obama Administration released its fiscal year 2016 budget (FY 2016 Budget). The hallmarks of the FY 2016 Budget are proposals that would impose (i) a minimum tax on the current foreign earnings of U.S....more

2/4/2015 - Barack Obama Controlled Foreign Corporations Corporate Taxes FATCA Federal Budget Insurance Industry Life Insurance Reinsurance

2014 in Review: ERISA Individual Prohibited Transaction Exemptions and Advisory Opinions

In 2014, the Department of Labor (DOL) maintained a diminished program of advance guidance under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), in response to requests from the regulated community....more

1/9/2015 - Affordable Care Act DOL EBSA ERISA Exemptions New Guidance Prohitibed Transactions

Legal Alert: Ring in the New Year with New Summary of Benefits and Coverage Requirements for 2015

On December 30, the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services published a joint notice of proposed rulemaking modifying the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) final regulations issued in 2012. In...more

1/8/2015 - DOL Employer Group Health Plans Health Insurance HHS HIPAA Rulemaking Process Summary of Benefits and Coverage

DOL and Treasury Update 2014-2015 Regulatory Agendas for Employee Benefits

The principal regulators of U.S. employee benefits have recently published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months. The updated plans are reflected in the attached chart. ...more

1/7/2015 - DOL Employee Benefits Employer Group Health Plans Executive Compensation Health Insurance Regulatory Agenda Retirement Plan U.S. Treasury

Treasury Softly Launches myRA Program

In December 2014, the Treasury Department opened the myRA (my Retirement Account) program to employers and employees. President Obama announced the myRA program in his 2014 State of the Union Address. The program is intended...more

1/6/2015 - MyRA Retirement Plan U.S. Treasury

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Arguments Involving Federal Health Insurance Exchange Subsidies

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s decision in King v. Burwell. In that case, the Fourth Circuit held that tax credits for health insurance...more

11/12/2014 - Affordable Care Act Employer Mandates Halbig v Burwell Health Insurance Health Insurance Exchanges IRS King v Burwell Popular SCOTUS Subsidies Tax Credits

DELAYED! HPID Deadline Is No Longer November 5

This past weekend the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indefinitely delayed enforcement of the requirement that all self-insured health plans obtain a Health Plan Identifier number (HPID). ...more

11/4/2014 - Healthcare Healthcare Reform HHS HPID

REMINDER: HPID Deadline is November 5th

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is requiring all self-insured health plans to obtain a Health Plan Identifier number (HPID) as part of its compliance efforts under the Health Insurance Portability and...more

10/31/2014 - Healthcare HHS HIPAA HPID Self-Insured Health Plans Third-Party

IRS and DOL Issue Favorable Guidance on Lifetime Income Provided Through Target Date Funds in Retirement Plans

On October 23 and 24, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) issued coordinated guidance on lifetime income provided through target date funds held by retirement plans. According to an...more

10/29/2014 - Annuities Deferred Private Annuities Defined Contribution Plans DOL Investment Funds IRS Target Date Funds U.S. Treasury

Proposed Approach for Applying the “Look-Back” Method When the Section 4980H Measurement Period Changes

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2014-49 which describes a proposed approach for determining an employee’s full-time or part-time status for purposes of the employer shared responsibility rules under...more

10/17/2014 - Affordable Care Act Employer Mandates Full-Time Employees IRS Look-Back Measurement Period Shared Responsibility Rule

Massachusetts Treasurer Demands National Mutual Fund Records in Multistate Unclaimed Property Audit

Late this summer, the Massachusetts Treasurer demanded mutual fund records on a nationwide basis as part of a multistate unclaimed property audit. Thirty-five (35) states are involved in the audit, but the Treasurer has...more

10/9/2014 - Audits Death Master Files IRA Mutual Funds Social Security Administration (SSA) Unclaimed Property

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