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[Discussion] PPA Restatement and Plan Termination After Dissolution of Plan Sponsor
"Let's say the plan was a one-person profit sharing plan. The sponsor was the sole participant's medical professional association. The participant died in 2014. The plan provides that the plan terminates upon dissolution of the plan sponsor. I believe the P.A. might have been dissolved in 2013. The plan never was formally terminated or paid out. Would the plan need a PPA restatement?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Discussion] What is the correction for a missing document?
"Assume the only 403(b) failure an employer seeks IRS relief on is the employer's failure to adopt a written plan. If an employer adopts a written plan and files a VCP submission and pays the $500 (for 20 or fewer participants), is there anything the IRS will require?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

Supreme Court Indirectly Stiffens a Fiduciary Breach Time Limit and Helps ERISA Fiduciaries in the Process
"The Supreme Court appears to have barred equitable tolling under ERISA Section 413's six-year statute of repose for fiduciary breach claims, subject only to well-pled allegations and proof of fraud or concealment.... [T]he Court dismissed as untimely a securities case filed by CALPERS after the statute of repose expired. CALPERS argued that the lawsuit was timely because the same claim was timely asserted in another securities class action that CALPERS opted out of after filing its own case. The Court rejected the CALPERS argument that the timely filing of the class action equitably tolled statute of repose for its individual case." [CalPERS v. ANZ Securities, Inc., No. 16-373 (U.S. June 26, 2017)] (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Do's and Don'ts for Beneficiary Designations
"Do: Start with how you feel.... Recognize the benefits accorded to spousal beneficiaries.... Make sure your beneficiary designations sync up with other parts of your estate plan.... Name contingent and/or partial beneficiaries.... Consider charities or other nonprofits.... Make beneficiary designation checkups part of your portfolio review.... Don't: Leave assets to minor children without understanding what that means.... Leave assets to loved ones with special needs without considering the ramifications.... Designate to someone who's not the end owner.... Stop with tax-advantaged assets.... Make inadvertent beneficiary designations." (Morningstar)

Major Behavioral Determinant of 401(k) Saving Success
"54 percent of participants with a written plan increased their 401k contributions in the past year, compared with only 33 percent of those without a written plan. Fully half of those with a written plan have rebalanced their 401k portfolio, while only 24 percent of those without a plan did." (401K Specialist)

PBGC's Early Warning Program: A Work in 'Progress'?
"The PBGC ... posted FAQs on its website in May assuring plan sponsors that [Early Warning Program] review would not be triggered absent a transaction. A mere change in a plan sponsor's credit quality, for example, would not be sufficient. The PBGC also confirmed that its screening criteria ($50 million or more underfunding, or 5,000 or more participants -- each on an aggregate controlled group basis) had not changed." (Morgan Lewis)

[Discussion]match true-up question
"We have a 401(k) plan that provides for matching contributions made on a per-payroll period basis (50% match on up to 6% of eligible comp), with HCEs subject to an $3,000 annual limit on the match. We have certain HCEs who front-load their deferrals so that they don't get the benefit of the entire $3,000 match for the year. Our TPA suggested that we implement a true-up provision for the HCEs. It seems like there would be a discrimination issue if we allowed a match to be allocated on a plan year basis only for HCEs. Any thoughts?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Official Guidance] Text of Treasury Department Letter Approving United Furniture Workers 'Pension Fund A' Application to Reduce Benefits (PDF)
On July 20, 2017, the Board of Trustees of the United Furniture Workers Pension Fund A (Fund) was notified that its second application to reduce pension benefits under MPRA was approved by Treasury. As a result, the proposed benefit reductions will now be subject to a vote of participants and beneficiaries of the Fund. Ballots will be mailed to participants and beneficiaries on or around August 1, 2017. (U.S. Department of the Treasury)

[Discussion] Withholding from Federal Criminal Garnishments
"Are there any tax withholding requirements when it comes to Federal criminal garnishment distributions from a plan?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

Can You Put Your Retirement Plan on Autopilot?
"Having quality service providers is a good idea but they cannot relieve you, your company or your other in-house fiduciaries from all responsibility for investment and administrative decisions. Second, some financial advisory firms charge extra to act as 'investment managers.' You may find that the 'extra protection' afforded by this arrangement is not really worth the additional expense. Finally, consider other alternatives to mitigate fiduciary liability. This may include steps like adopting a suitable investment policy statement or obtaining fiduciary insurance." (The Retirement Plan Blog)

Avoiding Fiduciary Traps: Tips for DC Plan Sponsors
"[1] The plan's recordkeeper calls the shots.... [2] A haphazard approach to plan fee review.... [3] The IPS gets stale.... [4] Investment committee members learn as they go.... [5] Fund lineup creep.... [6] View managed account providers as commodities.... [7] No audit of the DC plan's security protocols.... [8] Sloppy documentation around decision making." (Callan Associates)

[Discussion] Handling Uncashed Distribution Checks to Now-Deceased Participant
"A defined benefit plan retiree was receiving monthly payments on a life annuity. The checks issued since January 2016 remain uncashed. The plan sponsor has determined that the participant died in December 2016. It's not a problem to stop payment on the checks issued after December 2016, but what should be done about the uncashed checks from before the date of death?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Guidance Overview] The Case for Tackling the New Disability Claims Procedures Before Year-End
"[K]ey changes implemented by the new rule are ... [1] New independence and impartiality provisions.... [2] Enhanced review rights.... [3] New deemed exhausted provisions.... [4] Expanded definition of adverse benefit determination.... [5] New culturally and linguistically appropriate standards.... [6] New disclosure requirements." (Benefits Bryan Cave)

IRS Paves the Way for More Preapproved Plans
"A pre-approved plan may have either of two formats: an adoption agreement and basic plan document or a single plan document; a money purchase pension plan can now be combined with either a 401(k) or profit-sharing plan; an ESOP can now include a 401(k) feature, but it must be a nonstandardized plan; a Cash Balance plan may now provide that the rate used to determine an interest credit be based on the actual return on plan assets (not a subset of plan assets), but it must be a nonstandardized plan[.]" (Findley Davies | BPS&M)

Audit Survival Tips for Retirement Plans
"Your preparation for an audit and your approach to an audit will save your organization thousands of dollars in productive time, penalties, and interest.... [A]lthough the odds of your plan being audited are low, if the DOL or the IRS perceives some elevated risk of noncompliance, your chances of an audit will go up substantially." (Findley Davies | BPS&M)

[Guidance Overview] IRS Updates the Pre-Approved Plan Document Program
"The most significant change outlined in [Rev. Proc. 2017-41] is the restructuring of the M&P and VS programs into a single Opinion Letter program with two types of plan documents: Standardized and Nonstandardized. This change eliminates the distinctions between M&P and VS plans and expands the Nonstandardized Plan program to allow for greater flexibility in plan features and options (in effect, Nonstandardized plans will fill the role traditionally filled by VS documents)." (FIS Relius)

[Discussion] Remailing of Summary Plan Descriptions
"Quick question on SPD fulfillment to plan participants. When do they need to be provided to existing participants? I have seen the 'every 5 years' timeframe, as well as after a substantial plan modification. But what is 'substantial'? A PPA restatement?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Discussion] Family Attribution Rules When Son Takes Over Business
"A dentist had his son working for him as a 1099 independent contractor. The dentist's retirement plan covered the dentist's employees. The son now wants to take over the practice and start his own retirement plan. He wants dad's employees to wait until they satisfy the service requirement for him before entering his plan, but he wants to count his service as an independent contractor so that he will be immediately eligible under his plan. Possible?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Discussion] New Loans to Terminated Participants?
"Does ERISA permit a new plan loan to a participant after termination of employment? The participant still has an account balance in the 401(k) plan." (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Discussion] Florida 'Documentary Stamp Tax' on 401(k) Loans?
"News to me: Florida collects a 'documentary stamp tax' on 401(k) loans. Is there a 1099 involved? Or any other tax form? Is the amount reduced from the loan proceeds, or taken on top of the loan, like a fee? How is it remitted to the State of Florida? A form and a check? Online?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Discussion] Unreduced Early Retirement Provision Causes a Prohibited Forfeiture?
"Suppose a plan allows for an unreduced early retirement benefit at age 55. Normal Retirement Date is age 65. The plan was frozen a couple of years ago. A participating employee (whose benefit is not high enough to run into the section 415 limit) has turned 55. The plan does not allow for in-service distributions. If he waits until age 65 to retire, it seems there has been some benefit left on the table -- so has an impermissible forfeiture of benefits occurred? Is the plan required to offered in-service distributions at 55? Does it make a difference if a participant is no longer employed?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Final Reg: Special Enrollment Examination User Fee for Enrolled Agents
"This document contains a final regulation changing the amount of the user fee for the special enrollment examination to become an enrolled agent. The charging of user fees is authorized by the Independent Offices Appropriations Act of 1952. The final regulation affects individuals taking the enrolled agent special enrollment examination." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])

[Opinion] Text of Comment Letters to DOL on Fiduciary Rule and Related Exemptions
These letters have been submitted to DOL, in response to DOL's latest request for comments on the fiduciary rule and related ERISA prohibited transaction exemptions. 49 comment letters have been submitted as of July 10, 2017; deadlines for submission of comments are [1] July 21, for comments on a possible extension of the Jan. 1, 2018 applicability date for certain provisions in the Best Interest Contract Exemption and other prohibited transaction exemptions, and [2] August 7, 2017, for comments on all other aspects of the fiduciary rule and the exemptions. (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])

[Discussion] New Spouse Automatically Bumps Mother-in-Law as Beneficiary?
"I have run into a situation where the employee became a participant while unmarried, and named his mother as beneficiary. He recently married. Is his wife now the beneficiary? The mother wants to remain as the beneficiary, and the participant has declined to complete a new beneficiary designation form listing his wife. This is a 403(b) plan. Its document says that a spouse is the default beneficiary unless he/she waives that right, if there is no designation in effect. But it doesn't specifically say that becoming the spouse supersedes a beneficiary form already in effect. And it's not subject to the QJSA rules for anything (which I think rules out IRC 411 and 417)." (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

Transforming the Retirement Plan Participant Experience (PDF)
12 pages. "Engaging today's diverse segments is far from an exact science, but it is possible to create personalized experiences that that can be easily delivered across channels. When executed well, these relevant participant experiences can drive up participation by thirty percent. New solutions are coming to the forefront: self-service workflow tools hosted securely in the cloud; software that makes it easy to streamline content management; the ability to orchestrate experiences based on personas. With these recent innovations, market leaders are transforming their participant engagement strategies into more profitable realities." (Broadridge)

[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Chief Counsel Memo 2017-18: Rollover of IRA Distributions from Failed Financial Institution (PDF)
"[An] IRA distribution made from a failed financial institution by the FDIC as receiver is disregarded for purposes of applying the one-rollover-per-year limitation, provided: [1] neither the failed financial institution nor the depositor initiated the distribution, and [2] no financial institution has assumed the IRAs of the failed financial institution." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])

Treasury Modifies Multiemployer Benefit Suspension Procedures
"The revised procedures [in Rev. Proc. 2017-43] are effective for applications submitted on or after September 1, 2017, and are intended to facilitate the department's review in light of its experience processing benefit suspension applications." (Conduent)

The Nuts and Bolts of ESOP Loans (PDF)
"There is a very high probability an ESOP will be leveraged during its lifecycle. When this leveraging occurs and the ESOP takes on debt to acquire company stock, a number of legal documents are drafted to record the terms of the transaction and the requirements of the involved parties. As the TPA of an ESOP, it is important to understand the reason these documents exist and the differences between ESOP internal loans versus external loans." (Blue Ridge ESOP Associates, via Plan Consultant)

[Discussion] Permissive Service Credits under a Governmental Plan
"Can a governmental plan permit a participant to purchase an enhanced benefit without relying upon section 415(n) if it otherwise complies with section 415?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

Does the New Fiduciary Rule Apply to Plan Sponsors and Committees?
"[As] a plan fiduciary, you are responsible for monitoring those people and you need them to be compliant. In addition, you need to know whether your providers are cutting back on their services in order to avoid being classified as fiduciaries under the new Rule or whether they are required to put your participants' interests first. The Rule can even affect your own HR employees, who could become fiduciaries if they give advice to participants. Here is a short action list of steps for plan fiduciaries to take[.]" (Cohen & Buckmann, P.C., via 401kTV)

Catch 22 Situations With Retirement Plan Distributions
"Sometimes you need a particular form of distribution to achieve a certain tax result, but the retirement plan doesn't allow it. Or sometimes the tax law seems to say opposite things about the same distribution.... Retiring between age 55 and age 59 1/2.... 401(k) hardship distribution subject to the 10% penalty.... Estate wants to use the five-year payout." (Natalie Choate, in Morningstar Advisor)

The Rise of the Mobile Devices: Putting Benefit Communication in Your Participants' Hands (PDF)
"Because the vast majority of us expect access to information anywhere from any device 24/7, it makes sense that we should consider a commitment to incorporate mobile devices, particularly smartphones, to provide benefits information to our audiences.... The thinking around creating a communications plan that uses smartphones is different from other media you may use." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])

Making Sure 401(k) and 403(b) Fees Are 'Necessary' and 'Reasonable'
"[A scoring system] adds an objectivity that cannot be as easily affected by the really skilled sales people you'll be talking with and listening to.... It's very likely that by the time you've finished with interviews, scoring and group discussion your choice will have emerged. If it hasn't, identify what further information you need to get to a decision.... Plan on your conversion taking 90 and 120 days from the date on which you sign on the dotted line, usually a letter of intent, until assets move." (Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC)

[Discussion] Employer Stock Dividend Payouts and Hardships
"Sponsor of 401(k) plan with employer stock as an investment option which pays quarterly dividends has elected to give the participants the option to either receive dividends as a cash payment or to reinvest back into the plan. Dividend payouts are being counted as normal distributions so, for any participant with employer stock in a Hardship eligible source who has elected the cash payout option for dividends, the amount available for Hardship is reduced for each dividend payout the participant receives. Is this correct? It seems to me that, since dividends are classified as earnings if they are reinvested, payouts should be considered a distribution of earnings and not principal and shouldn't have an effect on the Hardship calculation." (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Notice 2017-39: Weighted Average Interest Rates, Yield Curves, and Segment Rates Applicable for July 2017 (PDF)
"This notice provides guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve, the corresponding spot segment rates used under Section 417(e)(3), and the 24-month average segment rates under Section 430(h)(2) ... In addition, this notice provides guidance as to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury securities under Section 417(e)(3)(A)(ii)(II) as in effect for plan years beginning before 2008 and the 30-year Treasury weighted average rate under Section 431(c)(6)(E)(ii)(I)." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])

[Official Guidance] Text of PBGC Interest Rate Update for Benefits Payable in Terminated Single-Employer Plans, August 2017
"The August 2017 interest assumptions under the benefit payments regulation will be 0.75 percent for the period during which a benefit is in pay status and 4.00 percent during any years preceding the benefit's placement in pay status. In comparison with the interest assumptions in effect for July 2017, these assumptions represent a decrease of 0.25 percent in the immediate rate and are otherwise unchanged." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])

[Discussion] 5500 Reporting for 'New' 401(k) Plan After Asset Transfer
"Potential client started up a typical 401(k) plan with safe-harbor match and profit sharing as of 1/1/2012. Plan number: 001. In 2015 they moved their money to John Hancock and got a new document with an effective date of 1/1/15 and when 5500-SF forms were done for 2015 there was a final one for 2015 under 001 showing assets transferred to a new plan (002) and a first one for 002. Plan 001 listed an asset transfer and not payouts and question 13a on whether there was a resolution to terminate the plan was answered 'no'. Questions: [1] Is this proper? [2] Would there be an issue with the mandatory waiting period after terminating a 401(k) plan? [3] How would you proceed? Amend 2015 filing for 001 and continue filing under 001 or go ahead with 2016 filing under 002?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

The Full Fifth Circuit Will Re-Visit the Standard of Review in Denial of Benefits Cases
"[It] is not the least bit surprising that the Fifth Circuit has decided to re-examine the standard of review it applies in ERISA denial of benefits cases. And it is probably not too difficult to guess that the Court, en banc, will reverse Pierre, and align with other circuits holding that a de novo review is called for when reviewing decisions made by retirement and health plans[.]" (Jackson Lewis P.C.)

Say It Loud and Clear: The Importance of Good Plan Communications
"As pre-approved plans in which boxes are checked to select plan provisions became popular, vendors stopped drafting SPDs and notices that described the plan provisions that actually applied to the participants. As a result, confusing and unhelpful text such as, 'Your plan has one of the following four contribution formulas' started appearing in SPDS and safe harbor notices.... SPDs are supposed to be self-contained documents, not a list of questions to ask the plan sponsor or check elsewhere. It is not clear that 'one size fits all' SPDs are compliant because these communications certainly don't do the job of explaining the plan provisions in plain language." (PenChecks)

[Guidance Overview] 401(k) Plan Fix-It Guide Updated for Changes to EPCRS
"The Guide helps plan sponsors find, fix, and avoid common 401(k) plan compliance errors by providing a table of 12 common mistakes ... and links to detailed discussions of each mistake. The discussions provide examples, explanations of available correction programs, and links to IRS guidance. In addition to the latest EPCRS changes, the updated Guide incorporates recent guidance on determination letters and other revisions." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)

[Discussion] Correcting Deferral from Voided Paycheck
"A 401k Plan Sponsor sent a payroll file with deferrals for a participant whose check was later voided. So bottom line he had a deferral deposited into the plan assets on money he did not receive. What is the BEST way to handle this as far as correcting the error? It's a small amount -- $9.75, but the platform wants $100 to correct it (move it to the administration account)." (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Rev. Proc. 2017-43: Application Procedures for Approval of Benefit Suspensions for Certain Multiemployer Defined Benefit Pension Plans Under Section 432(e)(9) (PDF)
43 pages. "This revenue procedure contains revised procedures for applications for a suspension of benefits under a multiemployer defined benefit pension plan that is in critical and declining status under Section 432(e)(9).... The procedures set forth in this revenue procedure must be followed for applications submitted on or after September 1, 2017.... This revenue procedure includes the following changes from Rev. Proc. 2016-27 ...
  • the projected withdrawal liability payments that are included as part of the projection of the plan's available resources, and as part of the support for the certification that the plan is projected to avoid insolvency ... must be separately identified as projected payments attributable to prior withdrawals and projected payments attributable to expected future withdrawals....
  • the requirement to provide sample calculations with respect to the guarantee-based limitation under Section 432(e)(9)(D)(i) and the disability-based limitation under Section 432(e)(9)(D)(iii) for an individual in each category or group that is treated differently under the suspension [is replaced] with a requirement that those sample calculations be provided only for an individual currently receiving benefits, a contingent beneficiary of an individual currently receiving benefits, and a future retiree....
  • specify the age categories for which sample calculations with respect to the age-based limitation under Section 432(e)(9)(D)(ii) (taking into account the guarantee-based limitation and, if applicable, the disability-based limitation) must be provided....
  • [clarification of] the different categories of individuals with respect to which sample notices must be provided as part of the application....
  • consolidate the descriptions of the actuarial assumptions used with respect to certain illustrations and projections included in the application ... [and] provide additional detail regarding those assumptions....
  • require the inclusion of a narrative statement of the reasons the plan is in critical and declining status....
  • a requirement to provide ... the accountant's report under section 103(a)(3) of ERISA....
  • minor clarifications to the Model Notice of Application for Approval of a Proposed Reduction of Benefits....
  • minor clarifications to the power of attorney and declaration of representative form....
  • clarifications to the application checklist[.]"
(Internal Revenue Service [IRS])

[Discussion] What Statute of Limitations Period Applies for Former Employee's Claim? Plan Terminated 18 Years Ago
"DB Plan terminated and final distribution of assets made in 1999 (!) -- smooth sailing through PBGC. Now, in July 2017, a former employee receives notice from SSA saying he might have a benefit under the DB plan. That notice could very well be wrong due to an SSA error or the plan sponsor having failed to list this individual in a Schedule SSA long ago as having received his benefit. On the other hand, it's possible that the individual is entitled to a benefit if he fell through the cracks during the termination process, never received his benefits in cash, and was never included on the annuity purchase list. What is the limitations period for this individual to bring a claim?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

Fiduciary Responsibilities: Wanted, Dead or Alive (PDF)
"Keeping track of retirees may seem like a simple process because they are receiving pension payments. However, if a family member neglects to report the death of a retiree or beneficiary to the plan administrator, payments could continue for years after the death. Even though electronic fund transfer is promoted as the most convenient way to receive payments in this modern era, it can complicate the issue if the death of a retiree is not reported and payments continue to be deposited to the retiree's account.... Here are a few strategies for verifying a retiree's life status[.]" (Milliman)

[Guidance Overview] IRS Revises Opinion Letter Procedures for Pre-Approved Plans, Issues 2017 Cumulative List
"The M&P Plan and VS Plan programs are combined and replaced by a single opinion letter program for standardized plans and nonstandardized plans ... A pre-approved plan may have one of two formats: as an adoption agreement plan or a single document plan ... An adopting employer of a nonstandardized plan may adopt minor modifications to the plan ... A money purchase plan may be combined with a 401(k) plan or a profit-sharing plan in the same pre-approved plan document.... A nonstandardized plan that contains an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) may include a 401(k) plan ... A cash balance plan may now permit the rate used to determine an interest credit to be based on the actual return on plan assets." (Thomson Reuters Practical Law)

[Discussion] Coverage Testing Fails Minimum Coverage Test Because of Religious Objection by Some Employees
"I have a plan that does not pass coverage due to the Amish being eligible but who decline to receive a benefit due to religious and moral beliefs. How can the plan sponsor provide a contribution for an Amish employee when he will not accept participation? Will the plan, if audited, be safe?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Discussion] Aggregation Issues for Governmental 403(b) Plan Sponsor with Subsidiary That Sponsors 401(k) Plan
"Employer sponsors a governmental 403(b) plan, and recently bought a company (i.e., it's now in a parent-subsidiary relationship) in the process of establishing a 401(k) safe harbor plan. For testing purposes, will the 403(b) plan become subject to 410(b) and 411 testing? Any other testing issues or coverage issues that need to be addressed?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

The Folly of Risk and the 401(k) Fiduciary
"[F]inancial professionals are like engineers in the sense they cannot mislead when it comes to the mathematics of investment returns, cash flow analysis, and other material and measurable statistics. Yet this is precisely what the industry has been doing for decades -- and with both implicit academic and direct regulatory support.... What's the one thing 401k plan sponsors can do right now to make sure employee participants don't fall prey to the folly of risk? The easiest thing to do is to remove all reference to 'risk' in the most basic educational materials." (Fiduciary News)

[Discussion] DB Plan Terminations; How Are Responsibilities Divided Up?
"For DB plan terminations subject to PBGC requirements, other than for 'small' plans -- let's say 25 or more participants -- what is your experience on the division of responsibilities among the various service-providers?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

Action Steps to Protect Your 403(b) Plan
"[I]dentify the written plan document.... What to look for (because the IRS is) ... Plan does not limit contributions ... Improper exclusion of part-time employees ... Wrong definition of compensation ... Failure to timely adopt required amendment[.]" (Ice Miller LLP)

[Discussion] Late Corrective Distributions for ADP Failure
"We brought in a new plan in April 2016 and found out in March 2017 that the 2015 ADP refunds were not distributed. In lieu of QNEC, I think the one-to-one correction method (refunding excess contributions too) is going to be the cheapest route for fixing. I cannot find any language in EPCRS language or in the ERISA Outline Book that this is also a QNEC deposit. The EOB just says 'corrected with a contribution.' This correcting contribution is a QNEC, right?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

Non-ERISA 403(b) Plans Must Walk Fine Line to Avoid Losing ERISA Exemption
"Sometimes discretion inadvertently or unknowingly finds itself in the plan such as an employer determining eligibility, processing hardship distributions and loans, and determining whether a domestic relations order is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. That also includes hiring a Third Party Administrator like our firm. That means, of course, the 403(b) plan could be subject to ERISA's Title I requirements with all the time and expense to make the DOL's required corrections[.]" (The Retirement Plan Blog)

[Discussion] Requesting Relief from ERISA Section 411 Debarment
"Does anyone have experience in seeking relief for an ERISA Section 411 debarment -- i.e., relief permitting a convicted felon to serve as a consultant to an employee benefit plan prior to the 13-year restriction period? We have a client who just discovered that it has a long-term employee with a felony conviction covered under Section 411. The employee is a clerical worker. The client is an insurance agency/TPA type group which provides services to group benefit plans." (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

Plan Sponsors Using Limited-Scope Audits Should Watch for Proposed Changes
"The proposed SAS requires the plan sponsor to acknowledge its responsibility when it comes to the audit. The auditor would be required to get it in writing.... This change will most likely increase plan sponsor costs, especially when plan sponsors opine on certified financial statements prepared by financial institutions. Plan sponsors may need to engage the appropriate subject-matter expert to comment on asset valuation and financial statement presentation." (HRDailyAdvisor)

Evansville Woman Sentenced in Federal Court for Bankruptcy and Wire Fraud Scheme Involving Husband's 401(k)
"[Patricia Bippus-Allen] was convicted of wire fraud stemming from her transferring money from her husband's 401(k) account into her own personal bank accounts without his consent, knowledge, or authorization. Bippus-Allen made multiple calls to the 401(k) service center purporting to be her husband while also faxing supporting documentation to the service center for a 401(k) hardship withdrawal. In sum, Bippus-Allen made multiple unauthorized withdrawals from her husband's 401(k) account for a total of over $24,000. Bippus-Allen also took out over $16,000 in loans on her husband's 401(k) account without his consent, knowledge, or authorization." (Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor)

[Discussion] Timely 5500-EZ But Delinquent Schedule SB
"[The business owner in a 1-participant plan] timely filed a 5500-EZ, and the company funded the plan properly. The only problem is no schedule SB was prepared or filed for that year. I would think if the plan were audited, we would get charged the $1,000 for a late schedule SB. Do you think that because the schedule SB is part of the 5500-EZ that we would also be charged $25 per day for a delinquent filing of the 5500-EZ?" (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

[Discussion] Looking for Recommendations for Form 8955-SSA Filing Software
"I need suggestions on Form 8955-SSA filing software. All I need is something for the 8955 electronic filing. The IRS site provides a list of vendors but the vendor websites do not provide much information." (BenefitsLink Message Boards)

Second Circuit Opinion: District Court Correctly Reformed Plan to Conform to Plan Sponsor's 'Materially False, Misleading, and Incomplete Disclosures' (PDF)
"Defendants focus, in particular, on participants who received seniority enhancements under the cash balance plan. Those participants, Defendants contend, experienced little to no wear-away, but in fact received more relief than other participants because they benefitted from a windfall created by the cumulative effect of the 'A benefit' and 'B benefit' ordered by the district court.... [We] review a district court's award of equitable relief 'only for an abuse of discretion or for a clear error of law,' Amara II ... and we detect none here. As we stated in Amara II, the equitable remedy of reformation is governed by contract principles, and a district court may 'properly reform[] [a pension] plan to reflect the representations that the defendants made to the plaintiffs.' " [Osberg v. Foot Locker, No. 15-3602 (2d Cir. July 6, 2017)] (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit)