Valuable Information on 401ks, Pensions, ESOPs, Form 5500 Preparation + More

A guide to ERISA fidelity bonds for employee benefit plans

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has rules and regulations in place to protect private sector employee benefit plans from risk of loss. ERISA section 412 and related regulations (29 C.F.R. § 2550.412-1 and 29 C.F.R. Part 2580) require that fiduciaries and any person who “handles funds or other property” of an employee benefit …

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Voluntary fiduciary correction program

Throughout the administration of 401k plans, employers may at times run into fiduciary violations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). If this happens, you may be eligible to apply for voluntary relief from enforcement actions, including assessments of civil monetary penalties through the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (“VFCP”). The VFCP was designed to …

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IRS releases 2017 retirement plan limits

On October 27, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced the cost-of-living adjustments (“COLA”) for the 2017 tax year. These COLA rates are used to adjust over 40 tax provisions from the standard deduction and personal exemption to retirement plan limits. Based on changes in the consumer price index, used by the IRS to determine …

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Importance of Minutes as Evidence of Corporate Governance

Corporate governance is how a company polices itself and employees. It is intended to increase the accountability of the company, serve as a preventative measure, and help build transparency and trust. Corporate governance as it relates to plan administrators involves meeting your fiduciary responsibilities. Under the Employee Retirement Income Savings Act (ERISA), meeting your fiduciary …

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Plan Terminations and Partial Terminations

Employers are allowed to terminate 401K benefit plans offered to employees for a variety of reasons. Employers are not required by law to provide retirement savings plans, and can terminate them as a part of a bankruptcy or merger, in order to switch to another type of plan, or voluntarily terminate the plan. According to …

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Retirement Plan Loan Alternative

Many retirement plan participants may already know about the option to take out a loan against their retirement account. What you may not know about is the option to take out a hardship (though, all plans may not offer the option). A hardship, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), “must be made on …

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Target Date Funds

Does your plan have target date funds (TDFs)? Are you doing enough in managing those investments as the plan fiduciary? Let’s see what the Department of Labor (“DOL”) says about these funds. The DOL has general guidance on the selection and monitoring of TDFs. With many plan sponsors making these TDFs available to participants, it …

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How to Prepare for Your 401(k) Audit

There are a few simple steps that can be taken during the planning phase of the audit in order to gain efficiencies during the fieldwork phase. You should be in communication with your auditor before the Plan’s year-end date. This is the best time to come to an agreement about the terms, timing and fees …

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Determination Changes Impacting Qualified Retirement Plans

A determination letter is a formal document from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that declares a retirement plan to be operating within the Employee Retirement Income Service (ERISA) guidelines. If the plan meets all the requirements, it becomes certified as a qualified plan and is then eligible for applicable tax benefits. Earlier this year, the …

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DOL Fiduciary Rule

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has been working on revisions to the current “Fiduciary” Conflict of Interest Rule for multiple years but on April 8, 2016, the DOL’s final rule was posted to the Federal Register which is effective June 7, 2016 and applicable beginning April 10, 2017. The rule now defines who is a …

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