IRS Issues Additional CARES Act Guidance for Retirement Plan Administrators and Qualified Individuals

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released two notices that provide additional guidance for retirement plan administrators and qualified individuals about the special distribution, plan loan, and required minimum distribution (RMD) provisions under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

IRS Provides Clarity for Retirement Plans on CARES Act COVID-Related Distributions and Loans

On May 4, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued informal guidance regarding the coronavirus-related distributions (CRD) and loan options provided for retirement plans and participants under Section 2202 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Payroll Relief Under the CARES Act Softens the Financial Impact of COVID-19 for Employers

On March 25, 2020, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously (96-0) to pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act as an attempt to stabilize the U.S. economy disruptions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act aims to boost the economy with over $2 trillion in tax and non-tax emergency aid provided to individuals and businesses. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill on March 27, 2020, which is now pending presidential signature.

Congress Looks to Secure Your Retirement Under the SECURE Act

In late December, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, the most sweeping retirement legislation since the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The Act, whose enabling legislation was included as part of a large government funding bill, contains many significant changes affecting employers and participants. Several provisions are effective immediately or retroactively, and others go into effect beginning in 2021.

A Welcome Expansion: IRS Resuscitates Determination Letter Program

Beginning September 1, 2019, employers that sponsor cash balance plans and certain merged plans can sleep easier. Revenue Procedure 2019-20, issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on May 1, 2019, opens the IRS’s determination letter program for individually designed “statutory hybrid plans” and certain “merged plans.” Plan sponsors will recall that beginning January 1, 2017, the IRS’s determination letter program for individually designed plans was significantly curtailed by Revenue Procedure 2016-37. Revenue Procedure 2016-37 provided that plan sponsors of individually designed plans could seek a determination letter from the IRS only for initial plan qualification, plan terminations, or other circumstances to be provided by the IRS at a later time.

Keystone State Targets the Gig Economy: Pennsylvania’s New Nonemployee Withholding and Reporting Requirements

On October 30, 2017, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania signed into law Act 43 of 2017. This new law provides that beginning July 1, 2018, Pennsylvania businesses that pay at least $5,000 in Pennsylvania-source nonemployee compensation or business income to a nonresident individual (or disregarded entity that has a nonresident member) are required to withhold from such payments the current applicable income tax rate (currently 3.07 percent).

New Tax Reform Bill Stifles #MeToo Settlement Deductions

In acknowledgment of the recent sexual misconduct allegations and the confidential settlements in connection with those allegations, Congress added a new section 162(q) to the Internal Revenue Code as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The new section prohibits companies from deducting costs related to sexual assault and sexual harassment settlements that are subject to nondisclosure agreements. While motivation for this new provision was a well-intentioned nod to the #MeToo movement, this new provision may have unforeseen consequences.

The Grisly Death of Determination Letters for Individually Designed Plans

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced last year that it would end its staggered five-year remedial amendment cycle system for individually designed retirement plans under the determination letter program due to budgetary constraints and a lack of resources. The remedial amendment cycle system had allowed plan sponsors to have the IRS approve the plan document language of their individually designed plans at regularly scheduled intervals. The cancelled program provided plan sponsors with significant legal protections, encouraged compliance with required changes in the law, and gave sponsors a blueprint for following the terms of the plan in operation.

New IRS Qualified Plan Corrections Guidance

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued two rounds of guidance modifying the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS). The IRS guidance gives employers greater flexibility in correcting relatively common operational errors such as benefit plan overpayments, missed deferrals, and automatic enrollment failures. Revenue Procedure 2015-27 addresses overpayments, provides new compliance fees for certain plan loan and required minimum distribution failures, extends the period for distributing excess annual additions, and provides other helpful EPCRS improvements. Revenue Procedure 2015-28, issued less than one week later, provides long-awaited new guidance on automatic contribution failures, including errors attributable to automatic escalation and more lenient approaches for missed deferral errors of limited duration.

Administration Publishes Fall 2014 Unified Regulatory Agenda

We expect 2015 to be a very busy year for actions on new or proposed federal regulations in the absence of congressional legislation. That was confirmed on November 21, 2014, when the administration published its “Unified Regulatory Agenda for Fall 2014” (Fall 2014 Regulatory Agenda) online at Reginfo.gov, a website…..

IRS Acts Quickly to Facilitate Donations for Ebola Victims and Offer Tax Relief

While employers and employees alike are asking questions about the proper workplace response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, these same folks are also asking how they can help the victims, their families and those who care for them. Fortunately, on October 29, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) utilized…..

Same-Sex Marriages and Windsor: IRS Issues Notice on Retirement Plan Amendments and Retroactivity

Employers and participants alike have been anxiously waiting for further guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on how marriages of same-sex couples will be treated for purposes of qualified retirement plans. On April 5, 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-19 containing rules on plan amendments and retroactive application of the…..

Filling in the Retirement Plan Gaps for Same-Sex Couples—What It Means for Your Retirement Plan

Employers and participants alike have been anxiously waiting for further guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on how marriages of same-sex couples will be treated for purposes of qualified retirement plans. On April 5, 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-19 containing rules on plan amendments and retroactive application of the Supreme Court’s United States

IRS Releases Revised Retirement Plan Correction Program Including Important New Guidance for 403(b) Plans

On December 31, 2012, as Times Square in New York was getting ready to drop the crystal ball, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) dropped long-awaited guidance regarding retirement plan corrections in the form of Revenue Procedure 2013-12. This Revenue Procedure updates the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), which includes the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP),

New and Improved Retirement Plan Correction Program Includes Crucial 403(b) Relief

On December 31, 2012, as Times Square in New York was getting ready to drop the crystal ball, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) dropped long-awaited guidance regarding retirement plan corrections in the form of Revenue Procedure 2013-12. This Revenue Procedure updates the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), which includes…..

A Soft Landing from the Fiscal Cliff for Employee Benefits

Well, Congress in the season of giving has provided plan sponsors and participants with multiple beneficial opportunities to start 2013. Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8), also known as the “Fiscal Cliff” legislation, on January 1, 2013, and President Obama signed the legislation on January 2, 2013. This legislation significantly expands the ability for participants to convert non-Roth accounts within 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) governmental plans to Roth accounts without withdrawing amounts from the plan.