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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Plan sponsor record retention guidelines

As plan auditors we are frequently asked how long documents relating to a plan should be retained by the plan sponsor. Like anything related to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there is no one simple answer. Before discussing some general guidelines on record retention, let’s discuss some general responsibilities of the plan sponsor to operate …

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The Importance of Knowing Your Plan’s Definition of Compensation

As I reflect on my last 401k audit season, I remember running into some operational issues that were a result of plan administrators not using the correct form of compensation, as defined by their plan document, while calculating employee and employer contributions. Using the correct form of compensation while making contributions is important because if …

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Dear Plan Sponsors: Reviewing a SSAE 16 Report

What is a SSAE 16 report anyway? SSAE 16 stands for Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization, and was finalized in January 2010 by the Auditing Standards Board of the AICPA. SSAE 16 replaced SAS 70 as the authoritative guidance for reporting on service organizations. The …

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Compliance for Small Company Employee Benefit Plans

As another employee benefit plan season draws to a close, I was reflecting on the many compliance errors that we find each year while auditing plans. The plans that require audits are typically larger employers with over 120 employees. These plans are typically administrated by professionals with significant experience in their fields. And yet, due …

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401K Pre-Approved Plans 2016 Deadline

Some employee benefit plans are set-up as pre-approved plans. Typically this includes prototype and volume submitter plans. This basically means that the plan is operating under a Plan Document from a financial institution, adviser or similar provider that has requested IRS opinion or advisory letters on the tax status of the Plan. These types of …

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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 …

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How to Handle Forfeitures

As a plan sponsor, chances are that at some point throughout the course of business, the employee benefit plan that you manage has encountered plan forfeitures. Forfeitures typically result from the termination of service by an employee who was not fully vested in his or her employer contributions. The confusion related to forfeitures doesn’t revolve …

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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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