Benefits Law Advisor

Insights on benefits counseling and litigation issues impacting employers nationwide

In 2008, the IRS established a voluntary correction program aimed at plan sponsors and administrators to encourage resolution of plan document or operational failures as soon as they are discovered. The Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System, or “EPCRS” as it is most often called, stresses the importance of established administrative practices and procedures to avoid Internal Revenue Code failures that may arise from a lack of such practices and procedures. EPCRS consists of three programs,…
As employers and their third-party administrators begin to wrap-up their Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) reporting for the 2018 tax year, we’ve started to receive questions about what comes next.  As we discussed here, with the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Act”), the ACA’s “individual mandate” effectively lost its teeth—while the ACA still contains a requirement that individuals obtain health insurance coverage, the Act reduced the…
The nature of work is changing with more and more individuals choosing to be “gig” workers rather than employees. This change fundamentally alters the availability of employee benefits, as well as the applicable taxation reporting and withholding requirements. It is no surprise to us that the Treasury Department has found that the underreporting of self-employment tax is a growing problem. Payers should keep a lookout for changes in reporting regulations – they are coming.…
Frequently Asked Questions About CalSavers Question: What is CalSavers? Answer: CalSavers is a new California law designed to encourage employees to save for retirement. CalSavers was originally called California Secure Choice and was approved by the State Legislature in 2016. CalSavers provides employees a retirement savings program without the administrative complexity, fees, or fiduciary liability of existing options for employers. Most employers with at least five employees, that do not already offer an employer-sponsored retirement…
Congress enacted the withdrawal liability provisions of the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act (MPPAA) with the ultimate goal of protecting participants and beneficiaries entitled to benefits from multiemployer pension plans.  Congress observed that such plans are financially burdened whenever an employer withdraws and permanently ceases to pay contributions and decided that the burden should be borne by the withdrawn employer.  Consistent with this remedial purpose, the statute often produces seemingly harsh and/or unfair results (at…
The rules for employer-sponsored wellness programs continue to be a moving target; most recently, regulations issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) intending to address issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (“GINA”). Many employers are already well aware of the wellness regulations under the Affordable Care Act that for some years now have permitted incentives for certain health contingent programs, such as biometric screenings and tobacco cessation…
In Notice 2018-99, the Internal Revenue Service sets forth interim guidance for taxpayers to determine parking expenses for qualified transportation fringes (QTFs) that are nondeductible and for tax-exempt organizations to determine the increase in unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) attributable to nondeductible parking expenses.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Act) amended these tax provisions effective for amounts paid or incurred after December 31, 2017. Background As you may already know, the Act changed…
As tax time rapidly approaches, taxpayers in states with high state and local income taxes (such as New York) are about to learn, up close and personal, just how much the loss of the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) will affect their personal tax liability.  A little-publicized provision of the New York Tax Law, however, may take away some of the sting of losing the SALT deduction. Under Section 612(c)-3(a) of the New…
As we previously reported, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, starting in 2018, tax-exempt organizations are subject to a 21% excise tax on (i) remuneration exceeding $1 million paid to a “covered employee” in a tax year, and (ii) any “excess parachute payment” paid to a covered employee.  The IRS has recently published Notice 2019-9 which provides interim guidance for the application of this new excise tax.  Please see our Special Report –…
In the spirit of the holidays, the Internal Revenue Service gave a gift to sponsors of 403(b) tax-deferred annuity plans on December 4, 2018, by issuing IRS Notice 2018-95.  For plan sponsors that exclude part-time employees from their 403(b) plans, this gift provides a 10-year nod on their historical plan administration, despite noncompliance with the once-in-always-in part-time exclusion condition. The Notice contains many conditions to qualify for the relief.  It also does not provide…