Category Archives: Cash Balance Plans

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Benefit Plan Regulators Have Been Busy – Very Busy

Benefit plan regulators were active in the period leading up to the Federal government’s June 30 fiscal year-end. Significant new rules and regulations were proposed for retirement plans, deferred compensation plans and group health plans. It’s not a walk on the wild side, but some of the dry regulatory pronouncements will impact most benefit plan … Continue Reading

Pension Plans Continue to Enjoy Double Digit Annual Growth – Cash Balance Plans That Is

Cash Balance plans continue their impressive growth rate. Accordingly to the 2016 Cash Balance Research Report recently published by Kravitz, Inc., the number of new Cash Balance plans increased by 19% with assets increasing to $1 Trillion. Historical Background The actual number of Cash Balance Plan, 15,178,  may not sound like much in the universe … Continue Reading

IRS Announces 2016 Retirement Plan Limits: Most Remain Unchanged

The IRS recently announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2016. For the third time in six years, most of the limitations were unchanged because the increase in the Consumer Price Index did not meet the statutory thresholds for their adjustment: 401k Elective Deferrals: … Continue Reading

ERISA Plans Do Have Their Limitations

That’s limitations as in “limitation periods”. A recent court case reminds ERISA plans to have such limitation periods and to communicate it to someone claiming a plan benefit. Let’s start with the basics. What’s a “limitation period”? In layman’s terms, it’s a law set forth in a State statute of limitations that sets time limits … Continue Reading

U.S. Steel Freezes Pension Plans: Symbolic Recognition of End of Traditional Defined Benefit Plan Era

It was just a brief note on the Form 8-K filed on August 17, 2015 by U.S. Steel Corporation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As described above, on August 17, 2015, the Corporation enacted a hard freeze of benefits accrued under its DB Plan effective December 31, 2015. Participants of the DB Plan … Continue Reading

The Fiduciary Hierarchy

The recent Department of Labor’s re-proposed Fiduciary Rule has generated many opinions on how it will affect fiduciary service models. One constant, however, cuts through all of the debate: the Plan Sponsor still has the fiduciary responsibility to select and monitor those service providers. But as you can see, there is a hierarchy of service … Continue Reading

What Advisors Need to Know About Retirement Plans: Presentation to Illinois CPA Society

I had the opportunity recently to make a presentation on qualified retirement plans to the Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS). Actually, it was using PowerPoint to begin a dialogue with the members of the ICPAS Investment Advisory Services/Personal Financial Planning Forum The ICPAS describes their Forums as being “composed of members with shared interests who interact … Continue Reading

Employee Classification as Part-Time or Full-Time: Not the Same Under the Affordable Care Act and ERISA

Some of the most difficult and contentious provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) are the employer mandate and upcoming reporting requirements effective in 2015. “Difficult” because the employer mandate requires applicable large employers, generally those with 50 or more “full-time” employees, to offer coverage to full-time employees and dependents (other than spouses). If the employer … Continue Reading

Taking credit for setting up a retirement plan

As we near the end of the year, many business owners rush to establish retirement plans to capture calendar fiscal year tax deductions. If you’re one of those small business owners, you may also be eligible to receive a tax credit for expenses you incurred to implement your plan. What’s the difference between a tax … Continue Reading

IRS issues updated Rollover Chart

What’s an eligible rollover distribution and what’s not can be a complicated and confusing matter. Here’s a recent and handy rollover chart by the Internal Revenue Service updated for new rules that may be helpful. 1 Qualified plans include, for example, profit-sharing, 401(k), money purchase and defined benefit plans 2 Beginning in 2015, only one … Continue Reading

Retirement Plan Limits for 2015

On October 23, 2014 the IRS announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2015. The chart below highlights the new limits for 401(k) and other defined  contribution plans. The rest of the new limits and the fine print can be downloaded here.… Continue Reading

How safe is your retirement nest egg from creditors?

So, you’ve transferred your 401(k) retirement nest egg into an individual retirement account (IRA). This gives you more control over management and distribution of IRA assets. But, you may have concerns about creditors and their ability to attack your retirement assets, which are now conveniently consolidated from several employer plans into one convenient IRA. Will … Continue Reading

IRS Establishes Pilot Penalty Relief Program for Late Form 5500 – EZ Filings

That’s the collective sigh of relief by those business owners who, for whatever reason, haven’t filed Form 5500-EZ for their retirement plans. It’s a big deal especially for those business owners with so-called Solo-K plans. 401(k) plans were introduced in 1978, but it took a tax change starting in 2002 to allow business owners to … Continue Reading

“Reasonable Compensation”: A Matter of Perspective Between S Corporation Shareholders and the Internal Revenue Service

Most business owners think they are undercompensated. The Internal Revenue Service does too for many business owners who are shareholder-employees in an S corporation. Their perspective is not exactly the same. The focal point is a sometimes hotly contested issue called "reasonable compensation", and the IRS has come out the big winner.  Here’s the story. … Continue Reading

Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designations and the Law of Unintended Consequences

For many participants in a 401(k) or pension plan, filling out that beneficiary designation is a one and done activity. Then, forgotten, but sometimes changing circumstances intervene to invoke the Law of Unintended Consequences. As in a recently decided case in which a U.S. Court of Appeals held that a pre-nuptial agreement does not waive … Continue Reading

ERISA, take me back to 1982

I’m a big NBA fan, and I love those time traveling Kia commercials featuring Blake Griffin, the All Star forward of the Los Angeles Clippers.He’s in his Kia Optima and says, "Kia, take me back to 1992." There he meets himself and learns valuable life lessons. I can also imagine time traveling. Not with a … Continue Reading

IRS announces 2012 dollar limits on contributions and benefits

Each year the Internal Revenue Service announces the cost-of-living adjustments applicable to qualified retirement plans for the following year. Unlike 2001 in which most limits did not change from the prior year, most limits increased: Following are the key retirement plan limits announced yesterday by the IRS: The 401(k) and 403(b) limit for employee contributions … Continue Reading

Book Review: THE VIGILANT INVESTOR: A Former SEC Enforcer Reveals How To Fraud Proof-Your Investments

My blogging buddy security lawyer Bill Singer on his blog, Broke and Broker, An Irreverent Wall Street Blog (always a good read), posts frequently about investment scams and scoundrels. In one of his latest, Bill writes that Feds Bust Bank Guarantee Scam. But the Feds don’t have the manpower and resources to get to all … Continue Reading

Federal and State agencies “T”ing up employers for worker misclassification

 A "T", or technical foul, is part of the game of basketball. If you’re a fan of the game, you know it’s any infraction of the rules which doesn’t involve physical contact such as unsportsmanlike conduct.  The retirement plan equivalent of a "T" is when an employer misclassifies a worker in situations regarding whether: The worker is … Continue Reading

“When I’m Sixty-Four”… Eh, better make that 75

When I’m Sixty-Four is, of course, one of the classic songs by The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon/McCartney) and released in 1967 on their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  The theme is about aging with a young man singing to his lover about his plans of them growing old together. It was also one of … Continue Reading

Geraldine Ferraro’s ERISA legacy

Geraldine Ferraro who died yesterday at age 75 was a political trailblazer.  She was, of course, the first woman named to a major-party presidential ticket when Walter Mondale picked her to be his Democratic party running mate in 1984. But while the Mondale-Ferraro ticket lost 49 out of 50 states to the Republican ticket of President … Continue Reading
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