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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Make your retirement savings plan more competitive, effective and enjoyable for your employees

Over the last few years, the benefits of participant friendly features have become apparent to many employers. Studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between participant friendly features and increased plan participation. However, many employers have yet to realize the numerous benefits of offering a more competitive Retirement Savings Plan integrated with participant …

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ERISA Attorneys – Why Have One?

One of the key reasons to hire an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) attorney is to complete a plan document that will be in compliance with all ERISA regulations. The plan document should be reviewed every two years by your attorney for any amendments that need to be made in order to stay in …

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Reviewing 401k Loan Requests for Compliance

During audits of 401(k) plans, one of the most common internal control deficiencies we communicate to management is when the plan sponsor relies on a third party administrator to make sure that loan requests are in compliance with federal regulations and the plan document.  The plan sponsor always maintains fiduciary responsibility with compliance on loans …

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Requesting Original or Corrected Determination Letters from the IRS

As a plan fiduciary, there is a very important letter that should be on file with your plan documents.  This letter is known as the determination letter.  The determination letter is a letter the IRS sends to you letting you know the tax status of your 401k plan.  This letter lets you as the plan …

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Black-Out Period – Part II

This posting is a follow-up to “All About Black-Out Periods” posted here.  In that posting we talked about what a black-out period is, and what the plan administrator’s responsibilities are for reporting the black-out period to its Plan’s participants. In this posting, I would like to share with you additional action items the Plan administrator …

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Are Your Fund Offerings Affecting Participation in Your Retirement Plan?

The answer is…possibly. After reading the title of this blog, you may have initially thought that eligible employees may be put off by an inadequate number of fund offerings; however, if there are too many fund offerings, some employees may become confused and, as a result, not enroll in the plan. A recent joint study …

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401(k) Employer Matching

Does your 401(K) Plan offer an Employer matching contribution to employees?  Are you a Plan administrator?  How comfortable are you with the Employer match made each year or each pay period?  Theoretically, there should be no mistakes in the Employer match because you use a third party payroll provider who has a systematic process for …

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Internal Control Processes Over Participant Contributions

Are you doing all that you can to ensure that your participant’s accounts are correct?  When was the last time you evaluated your internal controls over participant accounts?  There are a few important steps you can do to beef up your internal control processes in order to increase the probability that your participant’s accounts are …

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