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Webinar by US Department of Labor EBSA

This one hour Webinar is FREE and open to Plan Sponsors and practitioners and is designed to encourage employers to voluntarily comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  Webinar:  Thursday March 17, 2016 from 11:00AM – 12:00PM (PST).  Please see attached for more details and registration info, and please share with those that might be interested.

Final Rules for DB Minimum Required Contributions Issued

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued final regulations providing guidance on the determination of minimum required contributions for single-employer defined benefit (DB) plans, as well as final regulations regarding the excise tax for failure to satisfy the minimum funding requirements for defined benefit plans.  The regulations apply to plan years on or after January 1, 2016.

IRS Retirement Plan Checklists

The IRS offers one-page checklists for SIMPLE IRAs, SEPs, SARSEPs, 401(k) plans and 403(b) plans to help plan sponsors start a review of their plan’s basic operations.   Each checklist links to a Fix-It Guide with tips on how to find, fix and avoid each potential error.

IRS Updates Regarding Retirement Plan Appeal Procedures

IRS Publication 1020, “Appeal Procedures Employee Plans Examinations”, the IRS explains what plan sponsors can do if they disagree with a proposed disqualification of their qualified retirement plan by the agency, as well as what plan sponsors must do if they agree to a proposed plan disqualification.

IRS Notice 2014-74: Safe Harbor Explanations

This IRS notice amends the two safe harbor explanations in Notice 2009-68 regarding certain information to be provided to recipients of eligible rollover distributions. Amendments to the safe harbor explanations relate to the allocation of pre-tax and after-tax amounts, distributions in the form of in-plan Roth rollovers and other clarifications.

IRS Contribution/Benefits Limits for 2015

This page on the IRS website provides a table of IRC Section 415 dollar limits for pension plans and other items for tax year 2015 adjusted for cost-of-living increases.

IRS Notice 2014-49: Further Guidance on Look-Back Measurement Procedures

The IRS issued guidelines on September 18, 2014, for application of the look-back measurement process for employers in two specific situations: when an employee transfers from one position to another within the same company but with different look-back measurement periods or when an employer changes the look-back measurement period for a position.

IRS Issues Additional Guidance Regarding Hybrid Retirement Plans

The IRS published final regulations providing guidance in the Federal Register on September 19, 2014 relating to applicable defined benefit plans. Applicable defined benefit plans are those that use a lump sum-based benefit formula, including cash balance plans and pension equity plans, as well as other hybrid retirement plans.

IRS Q&A on Information Reporting by Health Care Coverage Providers

This page on the IRS website provides information in Q&A format on information that healthcare coverage providers must report to the IRS under section 6055. Reporting is voluntary for 2014; for 2015, the information is required in early 2016.

IRS Draft Forms 1094 and 1095 with Instructions for ACA Information Reporting

This chronological (newest to oldest) listing of draft tax forms on the IRS website contains links to the various 1094 and 1095 forms associated with the Affordable Care Act. The 1094 and 1095 forms were posted August 28, 2014. The instructions provided with the forms are directed at Exchanges that must report enrollees in qualified health plans as well as at employers and others that provide minimum essential coverage or are subject to the employer mandate.

Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2013

This July 2014 report based on survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Board in September 2013 captures a snapshot of the financial and economic well-being of U.S. households. The survey also examined the issues they face, their recovery from the Great Recession and perceived risks to their financial stability.

Text of U. S. Supreme Court Opinion in Burwell v Hobby Lobby

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its opinion of June 30, 2014, that a for-profit corporation has free exercise of religion rights, making it lawful for the corporation to be exempt from laws to which it has religious objections.

CMS Fact Sheet: Exchange and Insurance Market Standards for 2015 and Beyond

This CMS Fact Sheet summarizes the final rules regarding consumer notices, quality reporting and enrollee satisfaction surveys, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), standards for Navigators and other consumer assisters, and policies regarding the premium stabilization programs, among other standards.

Final Master FAQs from CMS on Health Insurance Market Reforms and Marketplace Standards

This 7-page document from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Studies provides guidance in Q&A format on the implementation of the essential health benefits and actuarial value, guaranteed availability, minimum essential
coverage, and transitional policy extensions as established by the Affordable Care Act to reform the insurance market.

IRS Final Regulations on ACA’s Employers’ Shared Responsibility Provide a One-Year Transition to Full Compliance for Large Employers

On February 12, 2014, the IRS published final rules covering employers’ shared responsibility under ACA.  Large employers, those with 100 or more employees, will be subjected to penalties if they fail to cover 70% of full-time employees in 2015. The coverage threshhold moves to 95% in 2016. Employers with 50-99 employees have until 2016 to comply.

2014 IRC 415 Dollar Limitations on Benefits and Contributions

This page on the IRS website provides a table specifying the IRC 415 limits for 2014. Essentially, deferral rates for defined contribution plans are unchanged. The chart includes COLA changes for annual compensation, HCE threshold, taxable wage base, etc.

Modification of FSA Use-It-Or-Lose-It Rule

This IRS announcement on October 31, 2013, explains modification of the use-it-or lose-it rule for FSAs. Employees may carry over $500 of unused amounts from 2013 to 2014, provided the plan sponsor amends the plan to permit participants to do so.

FMLA – Fact Sheet #28F – Qualifying Reasons for Leave

This Fact Sheet on the DOL website clarifies that for purposes of FMLA the definition of spouse includes a same-sex spouse if the marriage is recognized under the laws of the state in which the employee resides.

Model COBRA Notice Updated for ACA

The DOL has provided a revised model COBRA Notice for use by single employer health plans. The new model includes language to make beneficiaries aware of alternative coverage available through ACA’s marketplaces.

Summary of HIPAA Privacy Rule

The Department of Health and Human Services provides a summary of the HIPAA privacy rule on its website.

IRS February 2013 Employee Plan News

This is the February 2013 edition of a periodic newsletter the IRS publishes. In this issue is information on how new revenue correction procedures affect 403(b) plans, updates on compliance projects and more.

Final Rule for Health Insurance Market Reforms

This overview on the Department of Health and Human Services website explains the final rules on health insurance market reforms: Guaranteed Availability of Coverage; Fair Health Insurance Premiums; Single Risk Pool; Guaranteed Renewability of Coverage; Catastrophic Plans; and Updating Rate Review.

Essential Health Benefits: Fact Sheet

The Department of Health and Human Services issued final rules on February 20, 2013, outlining standards for coverage of essential health benefits (EHB) and the determination of actuarial value (AV). This fact sheet provides an overview.

Affordable Care Act Implementation Timeline

This page on the government website devoted to healthcare reform, provides a timeline of when provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect. There are also links to additional information for consumers.

A Review of the Workplace Wellness Market

This study of employer-sponsored wellness programs was prepared for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor in conjunction with provisions under ACA that expand the use of incentives in nondiscriminatory programs. It is based on a review of the current literature on the topic and summarizes typical program components, the prevalence of wellness programs among employers and their impact, and the use and effect of financial incentives in these programs.

Guide to Common Qualified Retirement Plan Requirements

This page on the IRS website, updated in October, 2012,  lists some of the more important retirement plan requirements to ensure that employer-sponsored plans maintain their qualified status under IRS rules.

PBGC Premiums – 2014

This page on the PBGC’s website provides a table of the premium rates for 2014 as well as links to other information and resources available from this federally mandated pension insurance program.

IRS Employee Plans News – March 2012

The March 2012 issue has articles on new guidance encouraging plans to offer lifetime income options, an update on the Determination Letter Program, the IRS’ 401(k) plan projects and other employer plan-related topics.

FMLA – DOL’s Online Access to Information About Rights and Responsibilities

This page on the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division website is part of the elaws program. This Family and Medical Leave Act Advisor provides information about the basic rights and responsibilities of employees and employers under FMLA. It includes information about the 2012 expansion of rights for military families and airline flight crews.