Tag Archives: Cash Balance Plans

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

New DB(k) plan two sides of the same retirement plan

There’s a new retirement plan design available, and it’s called a DB(k) Plan. What exactly is it? As the name and visual metaphor suggest, it’s a combination retirement plan that allows an employer to provide both 401(k) benefits and pension benefits (traditional defined benefit or Cash Balance). DB(k) Plans were added to the Pension Protection … Continue Reading

Key dollar limits on contributions and benefits remain unchanged for 2011

Every year the Internal Revenue Service announces the cost-of-living adjustments applicable to qualified retirement plans for the following year. The limits will remain unchanged for the second consecutive year.   Following are the key retirement plan limits for 2011 recently announced by the Internal Revenue Service: 401(k) and 403(b) Deferrals: $16,500 Catch-Up for Age 50 and … Continue Reading

“Watching the Detectives”: The ERISA version

That’s Declan Patrick MacManus pictured above, but we know him by his stage name Elvis Costello, the English singer-songwriter of Irish heritage. The picture is actually the cover art for Watching the Detectives, the 1977 single by Elvis Costello and his backing band, the Attractions, which gave him his first UK hit single. It’s my … Continue Reading

Comparing and contrasting retirement plans for business owners

For a business owner choosing a retirement plan, it’s kinda like those compare and contrast essay questions on college exams. Except this time, it’s real life and a lot more complicated than the venn diagram pictured above. Fortunately, our friend Denise Appleby at her Appleby Retirement Dictionary has provided a handy and comprehensive chart comparing … Continue Reading

2010 retirement plan limits unchanged but have future implications

Most annual retirement plan limits are indexed to inflation; and because of the decline in the Cost of Living Index in 2009, many of the limits remained unchanged for 2010. Following are the key retirement plan limits for 2010 as announced by the Internal Revenue Service. 401(k) and 403(b) Deferrals: $16,500. Catch-Up Limit (Age 50 … Continue Reading

Treasury issues new Retirement and Savings Initiatives

In a recent series of three Revenue Notices and four Notices the Treasury Department issued Retirement Savings & Initiatives to help Americans save for the future. The new Initiatives: Expand automatic enrollment in 401(k) and other retirement savings plans Create easier ways to save tax refunds Allow unused leave to be converted to 401(k) savings … Continue Reading

2009 Form 5500 not just about new disclosures – it’s also about electronic filing

Form 5500 isn’t just transforming disclosures as fellow blogger, Bob Toth, explained in his post 2009 Form 5500 Schedules A and C Will Create New Fiduciary Burdens For Plan Sponsors. The reporting road will be also be different. Beginning with the 2009 plan year, the Department of Labor (DOL) will require retirement and welfare plans … Continue Reading

Increase in bankruptcies calls attention to creditor protection aspects of retirement plans

Bankruptcy cases increased approximately 35% for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2009 , according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The number of cases went from 967,831 to 1,306,305. These statistics call attention to one of the often overlooked aspects of a retirement plan – protection from bankruptcy. It’s … Continue Reading

Wall Street: “If it can be broke then it can be fixed”

That’s Bloc Party, a British indie rock block pictured above. And If it can be broken then it can be fixed is the opening line from Pioneers, one of the tracks on Silent Alarm, their 2005 debut album. The album was crafted by chief lyricist Kele Okereke to examine the feelings and hopes of young … Continue Reading

QDROs: The view from 30,000 feet

  If you’ve been around retirement plans for any length time, you’ll know that the acronym QDRO (one of many in the benefit business) stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. It’s a court order that creates a right for an alternative payee to receive some or all of a participant’s benefits in a qualified retirement … Continue Reading

It’s Bond. Fidelity Bond … revisited

Whether your preference is Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, or now Daniel Craig, the James Bond character has been used in the longest running and most financially successful English language film franchise to date. The Bond movies started in 1962 with Dr. No. For us ERISA people, our Bond originated … Continue Reading

The EGTRRA Restatement Series, Part 4. The Summary Plan Description, electronically speaking

This is the fourth in our EGTRRA Restatement Series, the purpose of which is to help retirement plan sponsors handle the required amendment and restatement of their retirement plans. Last week, I discussed plan document choices. Today’s post is about the Summary Plan Description ("SPD") and its distribution requirements – electronically speaking. For many retirement … Continue Reading

You say “independent contractor”, they say “employee”

It’s the age-old story: worker classification, or rather misclassification. I wrote about it this past February, Independent Contractor or Employee? Employee Classification Still A High Priority Enforcement Matter.That was about the IRS auditing employers to determine whether those "independent contractors" were actually employees with required tax withholdings and possible inclusion in benefit plans. I cover … Continue Reading

Bill Singer’s Broke and Broker Blog added to our blog roll

Much of what’s out there on blogs is pretty vanilla at best. Except for those individuals that combine their expertise with a definite point of view. It’s makes for interesting reading and provides context for what’s going on in their particular field – and sometimes in the larger picture of the economy and business environment. … Continue Reading
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