The US Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury recently released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the implementation of certain reporting provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The FAQs were released to provide clarity on the required drug price disclosures identified in the Transparency in Coverage final rule (the Rule) issued on October 29, 2020. As described in this SHRM article, employers are responsible for making sure that these disclosures are ready and available.
Plan Sponsor Council of America hosted a webinar to discuss the new electronic disclosure rule for retirement plans from the US Department of Labor (DOL), which took effect July 26, 2020. The rule allows employers to deliver disclosures to plan participants primarily electronically, which the DOL says will reduce printing, mailing, and related plan costs by an estimated $3.2 billion over the next decade. Speakers included McDermott’s Andrew Liazos, and the topics discussed included:
New Safe Harbors, Effective Date and Scope of Rules
Notice and Access Safe Harbor
E-Disclosure Rule Q & A
The SECURE Act—the most significant piece of retirement plan legislation in more than a decade—is now law. Plan sponsors should immediately start considering how changes included in the SECURE Act could impact their retirement and health and welfare plans in 2020 and beyond.
The IRS recently issued proposed amendments to regulations concerning 401(k) plan hardship distributions. The proposed regulations address changes to hardship distribution rules from the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and other legislation.
Though the regulations are only proposed, 401(k) plan sponsors should promptly consider these changes because decisions should be made on applying certain optional changes, which generally can be effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2018.
With approximately 68 million US employees without access to a retirement savings plan through an employer, there has been increased movement by states to sponsor retirement type arrangements for private sector employees. Partner Andrew Liazos presented “State-Run Retirement Plans – What Labor Allowed” discussing insights and strategies for retirement, health and executive compensation plans. He addresses the various state retirement plan approaches, such as auto enrollment IRAs, state marketplaces, prototype plans and Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys.
Puerto Rico enacted new legislation in February that will require changes to tax-qualified retirement plans covering Puerto Rico employees, including both Puerto Rico-only and dual-qualified (US and Puerto Rico) retirement plans. Act No. 9-2017 revises a number of Puerto Rico qualified retirement plan rules including contribution limits, rules related to nondiscrimination testing and employer deductions for retirement plan contributions. Questions remain about how and when to implement these changes, but the 2017 Act became effective immediate upon enactment, so plan sponsors should be prepared for the possibility of mid-year 2017 changes to their retirement plans.
Two recently published memoranda by the Internal Revenue Service (the IRS) indicate that it is permissible for 401(k) and 403(b) plan sponsors and their third party administrators (TPAs) to rely on participants’ written summaries describing their financial hardships when processing hardship withdrawals from plans that apply the safe harbor event rules. Plan sponsors and TPAs may find relief from the former time-consuming, manual reviews of participants’ hardship withdrawal documentation.
The IRS recently issued guidance providing safe harbor 401(k) plan sponsors with increased flexibility to make mid-year plan changes. Notice 2016-16 sets forth new rules for when and how safe harbor plan sponsors may amend their plans to make mid-year changes, a process which traditionally has been subject to significant restrictions.
Last week, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) gave an important data privacy ruling, which any business transferring personal data between the EU and US should know about – particularly those that have made use of the “Safe Harbor” scheme for data transfer, which the CJEU has now ruled to be invalid.
Read the full UK Employment Alert.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued two updates which modify the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), which is the comprehensive system for correction of retirement plan failures. EPCRS now allows plans with automatic contribution features to use a new safe harbor to correct certain deferral failures, provides more flexible correction provisions on overpayments and excess annual additions, and reduces certain correction filing fees.