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Retirement Plans Blog

Plan Failure Can't Be Fixed in EPCRS? VCA Might Be the Acronym for You.

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 10, 2017 6:14:17 AM / by Marcel Weiland posted in Retirement

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There is now an IRS compliance program for retirement plans that just don't fit under other IRS programs.

It's essentially a voluntary program for bringing a broken retirement plan in for a negotiated correction – before the IRS audits your plan. It's called VCA: The Voluntary Closing Agreement program. Through VCA, you can reach an agreement with the IRS to resolve retirement plan problems that can't be resolved through the other IRS programs (known collectively as EPCRS – Employee Plans Compliance Resolutions System).

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Important 'How To's' of Plan Administration

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 7, 2017 7:12:00 PM / by Kevin Long posted in Retirement

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Improperly amending a retirement plan can jeopardize the plan's tax-qualified status. For health benefit plans or other welfare plans, it can be the prospect of a recovery for the plaintiff's lawyers seeking benefits for their individual participant clients. So why assume anything is simple anymore? This article will touch on the limits to what may be accomplished in plan amendments, including the limited protections provided by the "remedial amendment period" for retirement plans and some of the ERISA snags to look out for in amending plans in general.

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Controlling Retiree Health Costs: I’ve Got Some Bad News And Some Not So Bad News…

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 3, 2017 1:23:58 PM / by Jeff Chang posted in Government

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Originally published in “The Public Retirement Journal,” March-April 2016, and reprinted with permission.

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The Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program - Over-The-Counter Relief

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 16, 2016 9:00:00 AM / by Marcel Weiland posted in Retirement

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In 1995, the Department of Labor (DOL) established its Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance (DFVC) Program to enable plan sponsors to file all the appropriate returns and to pay reduced penalties.

If you have an employee benefit plan for which an annual report should have been filed, but which was not, the DOL DFVC Program provides an improved way to find relief from both DOL and IRS penalties. It is simple to use! It does not require a prescription. The medicine almost tastes good. It sounds almost too good to be true.

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ERISA Section 510: the Setting is Ripe for Claims

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 6, 2016 1:04:00 PM / by Kevin Long

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ERISA section 510 makes it unlawful for any person to discharge, fine, suspend, expel, discipline, or discriminate against a participant or beneficiary for exercising any right to which he is entitled or may become entitled under an ERISA plan. It also makes it unlawful to discharge, fine, suspend, expel, or discriminate against any person because he has given information or has or is about to testify in any ERISA-related inquiry or proceeding.

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SIMPLE 401(k) Versus A Safe Harbor 401(k): The Pros And Cons For Your Small Business

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 29, 2015 9:00:00 AM / by Ken Ruthenberg posted in Retirement

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A small employer may find that converting its 401(k) plan into a "SIMPLE" 401(k) plan is preferable to adopting a traditional safe harbor 401(k) plan. What is a SIMPLE 401(k) plan? It is a 401(k) plan under which the employer makes either (i) a nonelective contribution to the plan equal to 2% of compensation for each employee who was eligible to defer under the plan or (ii) a matching contribution equal to 100% of each employee's deferrals up to 3% of compensation. Such a plan is not necessarily as simple or attractive as it may sound, however, because of complexities and limits such as the following:

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Safe Harbor Plans: Does Your 401(k) Need To Be One?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 29, 2015 9:00:00 AM / by Ken Ruthenberg posted in Retirement

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Does your Code section 401(k) plan keep failing the nondiscrimination tests? Or are your highly compensated employees (HCEs) unable to defer as much as they would like because of the low level of deferrals by the nonhighly compensated employees (NHCEs)? If so, you should consider as one of your alternatives adopting a "safe harbor" plan where the deferrals do not have to be tested for nondiscrimination and the HCEs can defer up to the maximum dollar amount allowable. We have described the traditional two safe harbor plan alternatives below, along with some additional options that are seldom mentioned or utilized.

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The Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS): When Haste DOESN'T Make Waste

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 29, 2015 9:00:00 AM / by Marcel Weiland posted in Retirement

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I can still hear my mother saying it, "Haste makes waste, Marcel." And it is true in many situations – acting too quickly can cause mistakes that waste time and money. But it isn't always the case with qualified plan failures. In most cases, timely correction of a failure will cost you less money and less bureaucratic hassle because the longer you wait, the more complicated the IRS correction program you will need to use. In this situation, as in many others, complexity wastes money.

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Pension Actuaries: Do You Need One For Your Plan?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 29, 2015 9:00:00 AM / by Kevin Long posted in Retirement

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The role of the pension actuary on the retirement plan team …

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ERISA Section 404(c) Compliance Alert

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 26, 2010 9:00:00 AM / by Ken Ruthenberg posted in Retirement

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Do you have a defined contribution plan that allows participant-directed investments? If so, read on.

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