Legislative & Regulatory Updates

Hurricane Harvey Victims Get a Helping Hand or Three

September 5, 2017

The IRS announced on August 30, 2017, that participants in 401(k) plans, 403(b) tax-sheltered annuities, and 457(b) deferred compensation plans may be able to use newly announced streamlined rules to alleviate the financial hardships caused by Hurricane Harvey with loans and hardship distributions. In Announcement 2017-11, the IRS provides that affected plan sponsors will be relieved from normally required verification procedures for loans and hardship distributions in order for participants in areas adversely affected by the massive storm to speed and ease their recovery.  Hardship distributions made pursuant to this Announcement must be made on or after August 23, 2017 and no later than January 31, 2018.

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FASB Update to Accounting Pension Expense Creates Opportunities

August 4, 2017

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released Update 2017-07, which changes the accounting procedures for sponsors of corporate pension plans (not Taft-Hartley plans).

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The IRS Paves the Way for More Preapproved Plans

July 18, 2017

On June 30, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Procedure 2017-41, which makes significant changes to the IRS’ opinion letter program for preapproved retirement plans. On the same day, the IRS issued the 2017 Cumulative List, which lists changes to the qualification requirements that are required to be taken into account in preapproved defined contribution plans that are submitted for opinion letters during the third six-year remedial amendment cycle.

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Round One in “Church Plan” Battles Goes to Healthcare Systems

June 15, 2017

On June 5, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued their 8-0 decision in Advocate Health Care Network et al. v. Stapleton et al., holding that ERISA’s exemption for a “church plan” includes a plan maintained by a church-associated organization the principal purpose of which is the maintenance of the plan. The petitioners described themselves as church-associated nonprofit healthcare systems that run hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

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The Rubbber Meets the Road for the Fiduciary Rule - Well, Almost

June 6, 2017

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) delayed fiduciary rule, which includes extensive changes to the definition of a "fiduciary" applicable to both individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and ERISA-governed plans, will generally become effective June 9, 2017.

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ASU 2017-09 - Providing Clarity to Modifications to Share-based Compensation Arrangements

June 7, 2017

In May 2017, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update 2017-09, Scope of Modification Accounting, which amended Accounting Standards Code Topic 718.

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Numerous Hikes for HSA and HDHP Limits

May 4, 2017

On May 4, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service announced in Revenue Procedure 2017-37 the 2018 limits for contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and definitional limits for High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs).

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ACA Fees Still Apply: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Fee Payment Is Due July 31st

While the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was passed by the House of Representatives, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still in effect and as such, the applicable PCORI fees are to be paid by July 31, 2017. 

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House Passes American Health Care Act: So Now What?

May 4, 2017

Eventually we may see the AHCA enacted with a few minor changes, or it may be a very different looking repeal and replace piece of legislation. Therefore, at this moment in time, employers and plan sponsors must recognize that the ACA is still the law of the land, and they should continue to act accordingly under all current ACA requirements.

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The 2017 Operational Compliance List - A Promised Tool from the IRS

March 1, 2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) handed sponsors of individually designed plans the second of two annual compliance tools on February 27, 2017, when it published the Operational Compliance List on its website.

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IRS: Forfeitures can fund QNECs and QMACs

January 20, 2017

On January 18, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") issued proposed regulations that amend the definitions of qualified matching contributions ("QMACs") and qualified nonelective contributions ("QNECs") so that they can be funded with plan forfeitures.

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