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John Iekel

ERISA requires a variety of disclosures to plan participants. This installment of ERISA Tips focuses on disclosures of investment-related information. In “The Fiduciary Duty of Participant Disclosures,”  a paper by Thorp Reed & Armstrong, Kevin A. Wiggins notes that plan administrators are... READ MORE
The IRS on Nov. 28 updated the information it provides on its website concerning eligible adopting employers and reliance on letters regarding the IRS 403(b) Pre-Approved Plan Program. Employers that can adopt a 403(b) plan — public schools, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, churches and certain... READ MORE
The IRS on Nov. 29 issued a reminder in IR-2018-236 that the hardship withdrawal regulations that it issued earlier in November contain provisions that allow 401(k) plans and similar employer-sponsored retirement plans to make loans and hardship distributions to victims of Hurricane Michael and... READ MORE
The Labor Committee of the New Jersey Senate will hold a hearing Dec. 3 on legislation that would create the New Jersey Secure Choice Savings Program, a state-run retirement plan for private-sector employees whose employers do not offer a retirement plan. Under the proposed plan, those employees... READ MORE
The New Jersey Bureau of Securities on Nov. 19 held a public hearing on the proposed state rule that would implement a uniform fiduciary standard in the Garden State. It is the second public hearing on the proposal; American Retirement Association General Counsel Craig Hoffman offered testimony at... READ MORE
The ERISA Advisory Council has recommended that the Department of Labor (DOL) issue new guidance on ERISA bonding. The recommendation comes in a report to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta that includes the council’s evaluation of the DOL’s regulations and guidance on ERISA bonding requirements... READ MORE
The IRS has issued a draft of the Form 5500-EZ to be used in reporting concerning 2018. The IRS notes that there are two changes in the form since last year: The title of Form 5500-EZ has been changed to match the purpose of the form to include both a one-participant retirement plan and a foreign... READ MORE
California has joined neighboring Oregon in offering a functioning state-run retirement plan for private-sector employees whose employers do not offer a retirement plan. The pilot for CalSavers formally launched on Nov. 19. Calpensions had announced recently that the launch was impending.... READ MORE
Years ago, the watchword was that the IRS was making an effort to be kinder and gentler. Many may want to debate that, but the IRS does perform functions intended to be helpful — and a Nov. 14 NTSA webcast discussed one of them. In “IRS Audits: A Necessary Evil,” Ed Salyers, who was a longtime... READ MORE
The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the IRS and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) on Nov. 14 released advance copies of the Form 5500 Series forms to be used for 2018 reporting, as well as the related instructions. EBSA reports that the 2018... READ MORE
The IRS has announced that it has granted tax relief to certain victims of wildfires in California. The IRS action includes relief from penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after Nov. 8, 2018, and before Nov. 23, 2018, which it says will be abated as long as the deposits are made... READ MORE
The protection Section 404(c) of ERISA offers can take expenditures of various resources, but a blog argues that it’s worth the expense. In “Section 404(c) Compliance: Added Protection Makes it Worth the Effort,” Wells Fargo argues in its blog that the value of the protection Section 404(c ) can... READ MORE
The IRS has announced that it has granted tax relief certain victims of Hurricane Michael in Alabama. The IRS action includes relief from penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after Oct. 10, 2018, and before Oct. 25, 2018, which it says will be abated as long as the deposits are... READ MORE
ERISA has been described as “a complex statute to navigate,” and a recent blog entry offers a look at the basics — ERISA 101. In “ERISA: Thou Shall Not Pay Excessive Fees!,” an entry in the CKR Law blog, Jose Jara, the firm’s Employment, ERISA and Employee Benefits Practice Group Leader, includes... READ MORE
CalSavers, the state-run retirement plan for private-sector employees whose employers do not offer a retirement plan, is set to launch a pilot on Nov. 19, Calpensions has announced. The pilot is expected to start with about 20 diverse employers and grow to 50 or more. The first contributions to... READ MORE
The Oregon State Treasury has announced that OregonSaves, the state-run auto-IRA program for private-sector workers in Oregon, has been expanded to allow individual Oregonians, such as self-employed or gig economy workers, to join the program. Certain individuals can choose from a simple menu of... READ MORE
The IRS has announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2019. The 2019 limits are contained in Notice 2018-83, released Nov. 1. The limits for 2019 are as follows: The limitation under Code Section 402(g)(1)... READ MORE
The Department of Labor announced Oct. 29 that it has published employee benefit plan compliance guidance and relief for victims of recent Hurricanes Florence and Michael. The relief includes easing of enforcement concerning the rules governing plan loans and distributions, as well as relief... READ MORE
Defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, IRAs — among the basics that are the bread and butter of saving for retirement. But there is another kind of account which is coming into greater prominence as a way to accomplish that — health savings accounts (HSAs). Greg Fowler, Vice President,... READ MORE
In order to be in compliance with ERISA Section 404(c), a plan needs to meet some general requirements; one is that plan participants must be allowed to receive information sufficient for them to make informed decisions. So says Wells Fargo in “Section 404(c) Compliance: Added Protection Makes it... READ MORE

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