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Employee Benefits - E-Blawg

The Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation attorneys at Chamberlain Hrdlicka represent public companies, large and closely-held private companies, tax-exempt organizations, and the fiduciaries who oversee those entities' employee benefit plans.  We understand incentives in the workplace, and we stand ready with an integrated approach to help you deal with them.

From qualified retirement plans, to executive compensation, to fiduciary advice, to health and welfare programs, to mergers and acquisitions, to ERISA litigation, our broad experience helps companies answer questions in these areas of the law.  A background in tax, securities, and fiduciary matters is our foundation.  A common theme runs through our work in these areas: we specialize in representing employers in protecting their interests and maximizing tax advantages. We understand the work that goes into creating and maintaining incentives in the workplace, and we have the technical skills to help keep a company's employee benefit plans operating at peak efficiency.

At Chamberlain Hrdlicka, we stand with Boards of Directors, Compensation Committees, and the HR teams that serve those directors and committees, as they seek to provide a stable, productive environment for company executives and workers.

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  • Posts by Joshua A. Sutin

    Joshua Sutin helps clients unravel complex legal and business issues related to employee benefit plans, tax-exempt organizations, and business tax planning. He counsels both businesses and not-for-profit organizations on the ...

A former Bank of America employee filed a proposed class action in Florida federal court alleging the bank provided employees with noncompliant, "confusing and piecemeal" COBRA notices in an effort to save money, willfully violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.  This is not the first class action filed for poorly drafted COBRA notices.  The daily penalty that can be imposed per violation is staggering.

Other cases that have been filed allege that the COBRA notices were missing items that are required by the Department of Labor’s model notice.  For example, the name ...

Self-directed IRA distribution to Owner was taxable when it could have been avoided easily.

In Ball, TC Memo 2020-152, the Tax Court has held against a self-directed traditional IRA owner. The owner directly took an IRA distribution and then transferred the cash into the IRA owner's wholly-owned limited liability company. The distribution was redeposited into the IRA in a subsequent year. The Internal Revenue Service and the Tax Court held that the owner had taxable income in the year of the distribution.

All self-directed IRA owners should be very careful in how they invest the ...

494 pages of guidance on 62 pages of new final regulations that impact employer sponsored group health plans.  This will not be easy nor cheap!

The final rules set forth requirements for group health plans and health insurance issuers in the individual and group markets to disclose cost-sharing information upon request to a participant, beneficiary, or enrollee (or his or her authorized representative), including an estimate of the individual’s cost-sharing liability for covered items or services furnished by a particular provider. Under the final rules, plans and issuers are ...

Catherine Jones, Employee Plans Director with the Internal Revenue Service’s Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division, laid out the IRS’s thinking regarding top compliance issues for employee benefit plans, during a November 10 webinar hosted by the American Institute of CPAs. 

Not surprisingly, with the CARES Act changing the qualified plans landscape, loans and required minimum distributions are a high priority, as these areas are creating a lot of operational errors in qualified plans. Further compliance areas include: Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs); ...

In accordance with Executive Order 13847, the Treasury Department and the IRS have examined the life expectancy and distribution period tables in formerly applicable §1.401(a)(9)-9 and have reviewed currently available mortality data.  As a result of this review, the Treasury Department and the IRS have determined that those tables should be updated to reflect current life expectancies.  Accordingly, these regulations, https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2020-24723.pdf, update those tables. 

The life expectancy tables and applicable distribution period ...

The Department of Labor’s final regulation (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/06/30/2020-13705/financial-factors-in-selecting-plan-investments) makes it clear that ERISA plan fiduciaries may not invest in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) vehicles when they understand an underlying investment strategy of the vehicle is to subordinate return or increase risk for the purpose of non-pecuniary objectives.

The IRS announced the cost of living adjustments for dollar limitations under pension plans and other retirement-related matters. See Notice 2020-79, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-20-79.pdf.

In IR-2020-244, https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USIRS/bulletins/2a7d379, also provides dollar limitation cost of living adjustments for Both IRAs and pension plans, as well.

In Revenue Procedure 2020-45 the IRS announced the inflation adjustments that will apply to various fringe benefits in 2021. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-20-45.pdf

In 2019, the Department of Labor ("DOL") received recommendations from the ERISA Advisory Council to permit fiduciaries of qualified plans to allow uncashed checks of missing participants to be transferred to state unclaimed property funds. https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/about-ebsa/about-us/erisa-advisory-council/2019-eac-voluntary-transfers-to-state-programs.pdf

Now, the IRS is making sure employer’s withhold taxes from those uncashed checks. See Revenue Ruling 2020-24, 2020-45 IRB. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rr-20-24.pdf

From Jan. 1 through Dec. 30, a plan is permitted, but not required, to allow qualified individuals to treat a 401(k) plan distribution as a coronavirus-related distribution, or CRD. These distributions (up to $100,000) are not being subject to the 10% early withdrawal tax for distributions prior to age 59.5 and are taxed pro rata over a three-year period. An individual's designation as a qualified individual under the CARES Act only needs to be certified by the plan participant.

The employer/plan sponsor has no duty to inquire whether an individual has in fact satisfied the ...

Notice 2020-29 provides employers the ability to really help their employees through employer sponsored cafeteria plans with component spending arrangements.

This notice temporarily extends the claims period for flexible spending accounts for unused 2019 amounts through the end of 2020.   However, this will cause an interesting administrative burden of trying to juggle extended 2019 claims for reimbursement while also processing 2020 claim.  There is no clear guidance on how to handle this overlap and timing issues and we don’t see any further guidance coming out of the ...

Categories: COVID-19