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 …

Keep Reading

Language Barriers of 401(k) Disclosure

I would like to address disclosure versus communication. They are two very different things, but they shouldn’t be. Have you ever tried to read ERISA or DOL regulations? The average person doesn’t read this stuff. Lawyers read it because it is in their language. Lawyers are the ones who write this stuff. Imagine a Company …

Keep Reading

Warning Signs Your Employer May be Misusing Your 401(k) Savings

I was browsing the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) website the other day and I came across an interesting article that talked about employer abuse of employees’ 401(k) contributions. I haven’t really thought much about this before as I have fortunately always worked for employers that I feel are trustworthy and ethical. However, the …

Keep Reading

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 …

Keep Reading

IRS Examinations of 401(k) Plans

Every American knows the instant anxiety associated with receiving a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). That anxiety might be overwhelming if the letter is a notification that your company’s employee benefit plan has been chosen for examination. The IRS understands this and has provided an online resource guide specifically geared to educating employers …

Keep Reading

Exploring Roth In-Plan Conversions

Brief History The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 authorized the establishment of Roth 401(k) accounts beginning January 1, 2006, which are post-tax retirement account. The next big thing to happen to Roth accounts was the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which opened the doors to in-plan Roth conversions. Effective immediately …

Keep Reading

Different Types of Distributions on a 401(k) Plan

If your company has a 401(k) plan, one of the areas to understand is if your plan allows for different types of distributions, what they entail, and some key items to note regarding each type. The main types of distributions are hardships, termination/rollovers, and in-service. Hardship distributions Not all plans allow for hardship distributions; however …

Keep Reading

Benchmarking Your 401(k) Plan Provisions

To attract and retain talented employees, employers should be aware of how their retirement plan provisions compare to other employers. If you are an employer and have not benchmarked your retirement plan provisions, now is a good time to do so. Each year Deloitte publishes the results of its Annual 401(k) Benchmarking Survey. You can …

Keep Reading

What You Need to Know When Filing Form 5500

What is Form 5500? Form 5500 is the annual tax return for your retirement plan that must be filed with the Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA), a division of the Department of Labor (DOL). It is required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to ensure employee benefit plans are operated and …

Keep Reading

10 Steps to Put on Your Retirement Planning Checklist

The average American doesn’t give proper attention and consideration to retirement financial planning for a variety of reasons (excuses). Perhaps you don’t have time in your day-to-day life to squeeze in financial planning because it seems complicated and time consuming. Maybe you think it can be done next year; what’s the rush to do it …

Keep Reading