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Tax Alert: Attention Employers Using Pre-Approved Retirement Plans – It’s Amendment Time Again!

Do you sponsor a tax-qualified retirement plan that was pre-approved by the IRS? If so, pre-approved documents take one of two forms.

Tax Alert: New Executive Compensation Regulations Clarify Timing of Taxation

The Internal Revenue Service recently published final regulations under Section 83 of the tax code.

Filling in the Retirement Plan Gaps for Same-Sex Couples—What It Means for Your Retirement Plan

Employers and participants alike have been anxiously waiting for further guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on how marriages of same-sex couples will be treated for purposes of qualified retirement plans.

Treasury Department Issues Guidance on Application of Same-Sex Marriage Ruling to Retirement Plans

On April 4, 2014, the Department of the Treasury issued its long-awaited supplemental guidance on when and how tax-qualified retirement plans (including 401(k) plans) must comply with Windsor v. United States, in which the Supreme Court held that federal laws must recognize valid same-sex marriages. In Rev. Rul. 2013-17, the Department interpreted Windsor to require recognition (for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code) of same-sex spouses who were legally married where the marriage took place, effective Sept. 16, 2013. In the new guidance (Notice 2014-19), the Department expands upon that prior guidance with respect to qualified retirement plans and whether (and how) same-sex spouse recognition can be applied retroactively.

House Clears Bill Revising Definition of Full-Time Employee Under Affordable Care Act

As expected, the House of Representatives approved legislation on Thursday that would change the definition of “full-time employee” under the Affordable Care Act. Under the healthcare law’s employer responsibility requirements, an employer with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees will be required to provide health insurance that meets certain ACA standards to their full-time employees starting in 2015, or pay a penalty. The ACA considers a worker “full time” if he or she works 30 hours or more per week, instead of the customary 40 per week. The Save American Workers Act (H.R. 2575) would specifically define “full-time employee” as an employee, “with respect to any month . . . who is employed on average at least 40 hours of service per week.’’ The measure was approved by a vote of 248-179, with 18 Democratic lawmakers joining all Republicans in support of the bill.

Judgment Reduced, but the Importance of Monitoring Plan Investments Reaffirmed

On March 19, 2014, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld one of the first excessive fee rulings in favor of retirement plan participants.

FAQ's on FINRA's Broker Compensation Proposal

On March 10, 2014, FINRA filed proposed Rule 2243 with the SEC. The proposed rule would require firms and registered reps to disclose certain financial incentives offered to reps in connection with a change in employment and would require firms to report information concerning the same subject to FINRA. I spoke about the proposed rule this morning at SIFMA's C&L Annual Seminar in Orlando. Following are the most frequently asked questions concerning the proposed Rule.

Monthly Benefits Update - March 2014

As expected, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS (the “Agencies”) finalized the employer information reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) earlier this month. The final rules, which are designed to help the IRS enforce the employer shared responsibility provisions and the individual mandate, remain largely unchanged from the proposed rules subject to minor modifications in response to public comment. Originally intended to be effective in 2014, the new rules are effective January 1, 2015 after Treasury delayed the requirements in 2013.

HHS Releases Security Risk Assessment Tool to Help Providers with HIPAA Compliance

On March 28, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a new security risk assessment (SRA) tool to help health care providers in small- to medium-sized offices conduct risk assessments of their organizations in order to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule.

IRS Final Rule on ACA Play or Pay Mandate Allows Employers to Finalize Compliance Plans

The IRS issued final regulations on the employer shared responsibility provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as the "play or pay" mandate, on February 11, 2014. The final regulations contain 227 pages of detailed rules implementing these provisions.