Benefit Plan Sponsors

News & Analysis as of

IRS Announces Major Changes to its Determination Letter Program for Individually Designed Retirement Plans

On July 21, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Announcement 2015-19 (the Announcement), which ends the five year remedial amendment cycles for individually designed plans effective January 1, 2017. For remedial...more

Be Alert Middle East: New Dubai and Qatar Health Insurance Laws

Qatar, and most recently Dubai, have introduced a compulsory health insurance scheme. The scheme, which applies to all residents and visitors, stipulates that it is mandatory for employers to provide employees with health...more

IRS Determination Letters No Longer Available After 2016

The IRS recently announced significant changes to its determination letter program that will become effective January 1, 2017. These changes essentially eliminate determination letters for individually designed plans that are...more

Advisors Advantage - August 2015

How Retirement Plan Providers Can Avoid Communication Problems. It's all about relationships and communication. Life is all about relationships, whether it's family, friends, or business. Whether it's starting a...more

No Damages Awarded for ERISA Plan Fund Mapping Claims

Mapping in a 401(k) plan occurs when an investment option is removed and the participant’s investment in that option is transferred to a different investment option (absent direction from the participant). On remand from the...more

IRS Pulls Determination Letter Program, Puts Premium on Plan Assessments by Sponsors

Effective January 1, 2017, the IRS has announced that, due to limited resources, it is eliminating the existing 5-year determination letter application staggered filing cycles for individually designed plans. Off-cycle...more

IRS Overhauls Determination Letter Process for Individually Designed Plans

On July 21, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released Announcement 2015-19, which significantly limits the circumstances under which the IRS will accept determination letter applications for individually designed...more

Canadian Employment News Series - July 2015

Self-Reporting Drug Use Policies at Work: Are They Discriminatory? Employers seeking to strengthen policies aimed at reducing drug and alcohol abuse in safety sensitive workplaces should take note of this recent Alberta...more

The Rosenbaum Law Firm Review - August 2015

Good Bets by a 401(k) Plan Sponsor to Avoid Liability. As close to a sure thing you'll get. I don't gamble because I don't like to lose and that's a big problem about gambling because people do lose. I stopped playing...more

IRS Makes Significant Changes to Qualified Plan Determination Letter Program

The IRS has announced significant changes to its qualified plan determination letter program. These changes, which become effective January 1, 2017, impact individually-designed plans. Favorable determination letters...more

Benefits Litigation Update – July 2015

Welcome to the new, rejuvenated version of the Benefits Litigation Update, which we bring you jointly with the law firm of Epstein Becker Green. Our goal is to provide a concise and, we hope, insightful glimpse into recent...more

Offering Employee Equity Has Become Much Easier for Australian Start-Ups

From 1 July 2015 the way in which options granted by any company to its employees in Australia will be taxed has changed, but the main winners under the new tax rules are those Australian companies that qualify for the...more

Tenth Circuit Addresses ERISA Limitations Provision in Class Action Decision

In Fulghum v. Embarq. Corp., 785 F.3d 395 (10th Cir. 2015), the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals considered the claims of a class of telephone company retirees whose life and health insurance benefits were reduced or eliminated...more

The Top 7 Concerns for Employee Benefits Administrators

For years, employers have been getting a free pass from the courts for a number of different violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA") relating to the operation of retirement, medical,...more

Major Changes in IRS Qualified Retirement Plan Determination Letter Procedure Announced

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that, effective January 1, 2017, the existing procedure for issuance of favorable IRS determination letters for qualified pension, profit-sharing and 401(k) plans will be...more

The IRS Tosses Plan Sponsors a Curveball: New Guidance Throws Out One Method of Pension Plan De-Risking

In recent guidance, the IRS surprised plan sponsors with its plan to prevent them from using one means of “de-risking” their defined benefit pension plans to reduce their pension plan liabilities. In Notice 2015-49, the IRS...more

Recent Decision Sheds Light on the ERISA Definition of a Top Hat Plan and the Absence of Detailed Guidance

The “top hat plan” exception to full ERISA coverage of an employee benefit plan is the very foundation of executive deferred compensation. The exception provides that “a plan which is unfunded and is maintained by an...more

Quirky Question #264, Oregon Employers: Beware!

Question: I am an employer in Oregon, and I understand Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a whole slew of bills into law on Monday which will directly impact Oregon employers. What do I need to know?...more

Plan Provider Changes Shouldn’t Be Just To Make Someone $$$$$

Everyone has an opinion, but I think the independent opinion that is guided by beliefs and not by pay is far more important than the opinion that is greased by greed. I had lunch with my local neighborhood third party...more

Employee Benefits After The Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges establishes a national right to same-sex marriage and requires states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Generally speaking, this...more

Employee Benefits Developments - June 2015

Supreme Court: Plan Fiduciaries Have a Continuing Duty to Monitor Plan Investments. In 2007, participants and beneficiaries under a 401(k) plan sued the plan fiduciaries and the plan sponsor to recover damages for alleged...more

Oregon Governor Kate Brown Signs “Fair Shot” Legislation into Law—Employers Beware!

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a package of four bills into law on Monday, three of which will directly impact Oregon employers. Specifically, it requires even small employers to give up to 40 hours of paid sick time,...more

The Supreme Court Addresses Federal Health Care Subsidies and Same-Sex Marriage

Two recent Supreme Court decisions have implications for employee benefit plan sponsors: King v. Burwell, decided June 25, 2015, and Obergefell v. Hodges, decided June 26, 2015....more

United State Supreme Court Confirms ERISA Fiduciary’s Continuing Duty To Monitor Investments

In its Tibble v. Edison International decision the United State Supreme Court confirmed that the scope of an ERISA fiduciary’s duty of prudence continues after initial investments are made and imposes an ongoing duty to...more

Same-Sex Marriage and Employment Discrimination: The Future of Sexual Orientation Bias Claims

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country. In Oberfell v. Hodges, the Court held that Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment – commonly referred to as the Equal...more

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