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How to Apply the IRS’s COBRA Premium Subsidy Guidance

On May 18, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued much-anticipated Notice 2021-31 (the Notice) regarding the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) premium subsidy provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Under ARPA, a 100% COBRA premium subsidy and additional COBRA enrollment rights are available to certain assistance eligible individuals (AEIs) during the period beginning on April 1, 2021, and ending on September 30, 2021.

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has previously issued model notices and a set of FAQs regarding the COBRA premium subsidy. The IRS has now issued additional FAQs in the Notice that apply to employers and plan sponsors­.

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IRS Delivers COVID-19 Surprise to Workers: A Chance to Redo Their 2021 Health Plan and FSA Choices

Wish you could change your health plan for 2021? In newly released guidance on new flexible rules for healthcare and dependent care Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has included a new COVID-19-relief surprise: Employers can allow employees to make changes prospectively to health care coverage for 2021.

In a recent article in Forbes, McDermott partner Jacob Mattinson explains what the new IRS guidance means for both employers and employees.

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Consolidated Appropriations Act: Health and Welfare Benefits Provisions

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (the Act) was signed into law by the president on December 27, 2020, and includes significant health and welfare benefits provisions that affect group health plans and health insurance issuers. The Act is the most comprehensive single piece of legislation to impact group health plans since the Affordable Care Act.

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IRS Reasserts That Forgivable PPP Expenses Are Not Deductible, but Is Legislative Relief on the Way?

Loans under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) are eligible for forgiveness depending upon whether and when the loan proceeds are used for qualified business expenses. Congress provided that the forgiveness of PPP loans are not includible in income. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) currently takes the position that expenses funded by PPP loans are not deductible. On December 14, US lawmakers unveiled a draft of the Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020, which includes a provision allowing deductions for PPP expenses that result in PPP loan forgiveness.

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Securing Retirement: Additional SECURE Act and Miners Act Guidance for Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued practical and helpful guidance in a question-and-answer format for tax-qualified retirement plans and for an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA), regarding the legislative changes under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (the “SECURE Act”) and the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019 (the “Miners Act”).

Teal Trujillo, an incoming associate in our Chicago office, also contributed to this On the Subject.

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Employers Cast Wary Eye on President Trump’s Deferral of Payroll Tax

Employers considering President Trump’s plan to allow deferred payment of payroll taxes face a series of costs, uncertainties and headaches. The president wants employers to stop collecting the 6.2% levy that is the employee share of Social Security taxes for many workers, starting September 1 and going through the end of the year. The president’s plan doesn’t change how much tax employees and employers actually owe. Only Congress can do that.

In a recent article by The Wall Street Journal,  David Fuller, a tax lawyer at McDermott in Washington, DC, said, “We’re looking at a crystal ball not knowing what we’re going to see.”

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More Caring: New CARES Act Guidance for Retirement and Nonqualified Plans

New Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance expands the availability of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) distributions and loans under eligible retirement plans, and it provides important clarifications regarding how to administer and report CARES Act distributions and loans. The guidance also provides welcome relief for a participant who receives a CARES Act distribution, allowing the participant to revoke an otherwise irrevocable salary deferral election under a nonqualified deferred compensation plan. Finally, consistent with prior guidance, the new IRS guidance confirms that CARES Act provisions are optional, meaning that plan sponsors may choose whether to implement CARES Act changes.

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Deja Vu with Retirement Plan Extension 2

In response to the administrative difficulties faced by plan administrators due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2020-35, which extends additional retirement plan deadlines for 2020 not previously extended under IRS Notice 2020-23. The IRS also stated that this relief applies for purposes of ERISA if the tax code deadline has a corresponding ERISA provision.

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