Full Scope vs. Limited Scope Audits

When a 401(k) or other retirement plan requires an annual audit, a plan administrator may have a choice to engage an audit firm to perform a full-scope audit or a limited scope audit of the financial statements. To be qualified for a limited scope audit, a bank or insurance carrier must act as a trustee …

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Why a Quality Audit of Your Plan is so Important

The search is on for an accounting firm to perform the required audit of your employee benefit plan. In determining which proposal to accept, one must question the difference between the low end and the high end of the pricing spectrum. The intent of this blog is not to infer that everyone should hire the …

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Plan Corrections Necessary? DOL Corrections Program

If your company offers an employee benefit plan that is subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), for example a 401(k) plan, it is important to remember that your Company is responsible for ensuring that the Plan and any plan transactions comply with the fiduciary standards ERISA has created. Even though a Plan …

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Have Lost Participants in Your 401(k) Plan?

Lost participants are those participants who have balances in the plan (unclaimed benefits) or have been distributed an amount from the plan (uncashed benefit checks) and cannot be located. The participant either doesn’t know or forgot they have a balance since their employment was terminated or have relocated with no forwarding address. The participant’s account …

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Hardship Distribution Documentation

IRS requirements are surprisingly vague regarding hardship distributions. In the absence of clear-cut rules, we sometimes see hardship distributions with very little or no supporting documentation. As a plan administrator you should not only comply with the IRS requirements, but also document your compliance with these requirements. Let’s look at a few of the requirements …

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ERISA Accounts – Plan Assets?

Employee benefit plans are seeing increased regulation and disclosure of plan fees including new disclosures of compensation paid to covered service providers in July 2012 (https://www.hhcpa.com/blogs/employee-benefits-audit-services/fee-disclosure-regulations-for-covered-service-providers/). The result of the new fee disclosures and oversight by plan fiduciaries is that record-keepers are expanding their offering of expense accounts, typically known as an ERISA Account, to …

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Where Should an Employer Look for Benefit Plan Fraud?

Employee benefit plans are often a side note in the day-to-day transactions of a business, lacking the constant oversight and review given to the operational activities.  Also, benefit plans involve the majority of the employees in a company in some way or another.  These and many other reasons make benefit plans susceptible to fraud.  As …

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10 Easy Tips to Prepare for Your 401(k) Audit

If your company’s 401(k) plan requires an audit this year, here are ten things you can do to help you prepare for, and pass your 401(k) audit. 1. Gather all plan documents including new amendments that were made during the current year.  Your auditor will ask for them, so you might as well pull them together …

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Salary Deferral Election Time

It’s year end and time to update your contribution amounts for your 401(k) accounts for 2012.   Although the maximum catch up contribution amount didn’t change for 2012 (it’s still $5,500), the maximum amount of elective deferrals did increase by $500 from $16,500 to $17,000.  For a listing of other benefit limits for 2012 see this …

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EFAST2 Form 5500/5500-SF Filing Search

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and provisions of the Internal Revenue Code require certain employee benefit plans to submit information on their size, funding, operations, and other characteristics on an annual basis.  For the plan years 2009 to date all of these filings are stored electronically and can viewed through the EFAST2 …

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