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Treasury Issues New Guidelines on Searching for Missing Retirement Plan Participants

The US Department of the Treasury recently issued guidance that retirement plan sponsors should consider as part of their obligation to take reasonable steps to locate missing participants. Specifically, the Treasury issued a memorandum which sets forth guidelines that prohibit auditors from challenging qualified plans as failing to satisfy the required minimum distribution standards under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 401(a)(9) if the plan has fulfilled all of the following with respect to participants that cannot be located: Searched for alternative contact information in plan, plan sponsor and publicly available records for directories; Used a commercial locator service, credit reporting agency or a proprietary internet search tool for locating individuals; and Sent mail via United States Postal Service (USPS) certified mail to the last known mailing address and attempted contact “through appropriate means for any address or contact information,”...

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Supplemental Benefit Planning for Tax-Exempt Employers

Tax-exempt employers face a matrix of tax and disclosure issues in designing an appropriate supplement retirement program. This resource intends to examine the income tax, payroll tax and Form 990 reporting aspects of the major plans currently available to tax-exempt employers, and review those major plans from the reference point of several major design considerations. Continue Reading.

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Proposed Changes to § 409a Regulations: Greater Clarity and Better Planning Alternatives

Andrew Liazos and Allison Wilkerson wrote this bylined article on Tax Code Section 409A’s deferral and payment requirements for nonqualified deferred com­pensation plans. Recent IRS Section 409A guidance makes “several helpful changes that employers will want to consider and take advantage of,” the authors wrote, and they warned employers that they ignore final IRS “at their peril...in light of the more limited ability to correct errors.” Read the full article. Originally published in The Practical Tax Lawyer, Spring 2017

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View From McDermott: Fifth Circuit Focuses on Process in ESOP Valuations

Though the Supreme Court’s 2014 unanimous ruling in Fifth Third Bank v. Dudenhoeffer announced the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) standards for stock valuation in the context of a large public employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), the vast majority of ESOPs are still grappling with valuation issues. ESOPs that hold stock of closely-held corporations—approximately 90% of all ESOPs— remain almost unaffected by Dudenhoeffer’s valuation discussions, and face continued scrutiny by the Department of Labor (DOL). Appraisal of closely-held stock is an inexact science that involves an inherent level of uncertainty in assessing a variety of potential fact patterns. This article summarizes valuation issues in acquisitions of closely-held corporation stock by ESOPs in the context of Perez v. Bruister, a recently decided Fifth Circuit case. The case stressed the importance of ‘‘process’’ in valuation determinations being utilized for acquisitions of a...

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Camp Tax Reform Proposal Targets Executive Compensation

On February 26, 2014, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) released the proposed Tax Reform Act of 2014 (the Camp Proposal).  In addition to simplifying the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and reducing corporate and individual tax rates, the Camp Proposal would fundamentally change the income tax rules that apply to nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements and would further restrict tax deductions available to publicly held corporation when paying named executive officers.  It would also impose a new excise tax on employees of certain tax-exempt organizations who receive excessive compensation and certain payments that are contingent upon a change in control.  Although unlikely to be enacted this year, the Camp Proposal provides a blueprint for other legislators to propose tax law changes that would significantly impact current executive compensation practices.  Given the current political environment and...

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