Category Archives: 403(b) Plans

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Will 2017 Form 5500 reveal outdated fidelity bonds or none at all?

The 2016 Form 5500 deadline has come and gone for calendar year taxpayers, and a number of them revealed outdated fidelity bonds or retirement plans without bonds at all. The fidelity bond requirement is high up on the Department of Labor’s compliance priorities so it’s not a stretch to assume that the Department of Labor monitors this … Continue Reading

“Decumulation”: It’s here now for individuals approaching retirement

“Decumulation” is a word that has now entered the lexicon of those individuals approaching retirement. The definition of which is the conversion of retirement plan assets accumulated during an employee’s working life into pension income to be spent during retired life. It’s a new risk for the record number of those moving from the accumulation phase … Continue Reading

Department of Labor targets retirement plans with missing participants

It’s a familiar story: you or your retirement plan’s third party administrator (TPA) need to make a benefit distribution to an ex-employee. But the employer’s records are out of date and the former employee cannot be located. Worse yet, the missing participant has attained age 70½ so the plan is required to make minimum distributions … Continue Reading

Seven ways a fiduciary can follow “Procedural Prudence”

“Procedural Prudence” is not a new concept. It’s underlies one of ERISA’s bedrock requirements. A fiduciary must discharge its duties prudently with care, skill, and diligence. It’s the process by which a fiduciary can accomplish this. In other words, it’s the “how” a decision gets made which is what the courts have focused on in ERISA … Continue Reading

Red flags on Form 5500 alert Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor to plan issues

For calendar year ERISA plans, today is the due date for filing their 2016 Form 5500 unless extended. While the vast majority of employers will meet that deadline, some will have red flags on their returns that could pique the interest of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the Department of Labor (“DOL”).… Continue Reading

Timely reminder why an ERISA fidelity bond is necessary

July 31st, is of course, the due date (unless extended) for calendar year ERISA plans required to file Form 5500 for the 2016 plan year. And, as in the past, there will be many plan sponsors who must indicate on the 5500 they have outdated fidelity bonds or none. Here’s a timely reminder why they … Continue Reading

Non-ERISA 403(b) plans must walk a fine line to avoid losing the ERISA exemption

Last month’s Supreme Court decision, Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, upholding ERISA exemption for church-affiliated pension plans was a reminder that not all benefit plans are subject to ERISA. Indeed, non-profit employers who sponsor 403(b) plans can choose to be exempt from ERISA. But they have to tread carefully.… Continue Reading

403(b) plans looking a lot like 401(k) plans by making similar mistakes

403(b) plans have come a long way since added to the Internal Revenue Code in 1958. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued regulations governing the plans in 1964, and published a comprehensive revision that was effective January 1, 2009 that made major changes to 403(b) plans. The effect of which was to lessen the difference … Continue Reading

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

Boomerang Employees and 401(k) Considerations

We used to call them “rehires” back in the day: those employees who quit and were hired back. And it didn’t happen all that often. Many companies had policies not to. They’re now called “boomerang employees, and now it’s different. Different times, different economy. Employees who left the nest decide they want to come back, … 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

Sorry, MacGyverisms can’t solve 403(b) problems, but there are ways to fix them

Back in the 1980s, I thought MacGyver could fix anything. Using everyday items, he invented ways to fix critical problems. These inventions became synonymous with the character and became known as “MacGyverisms”. Just a little more than halfway through Season 1, for example, he had Disarmed a missile with a paper clip Raised a fallen … Continue Reading

How the re-proposed Fiduciary Rule came to be

As everyone in the ERISA world knows,  the Department of Labor (DOL) on April 20, 2015 published a proposed regulation in the Federal Register relating to the definition of fiduciary within the meaning of ERISA section 3(21)(A)(ii). ERISA section 3(21)(A)(ii) is that part of the definition of fiduciary that addresses investment advice for a fee … 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

Hey! What’s My Number? How To Improve The Odds You Will Retire In Comfort (Book Review)

Let’s say, for example, you’re concerned about not having enough money saved for retirement. You’re certainly not alone based on the myriad number of polls, surveys, and studies that have been in the news. So where do you start? You might start at Amazon and search under “Retirement Savings”. At this frozen moment in time … 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

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

Retirement plan beneficiary designations shouldn’t be one and done

What did Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Heath Ledger, and Whitney Houston have in common? No. not just being in the celebrity spotlight, but rather, estate planning done wrong or not at all. You can add one more celebrity to the list who Darla Mercado writes about in her InvestmentNews article, He needed a script: Actor … Continue Reading
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