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Fritz Richter has more than 30 years of experience counseling clients on employee benefit plan design and administration, and compliance with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). His clients span a wide range of industries, including healthcare, retail and hospitality. Fritz has helped clients navigate hundreds of audits; submitted numerous IRS, Department of Labor and PBGC filings; and crafted a wide variety of employee benefit plan documents – all focused on helping employers navigate complex government regulation.

Public companies maintaining deferred compensation arrangements for their executive officers should consider how recent changes to the regulations under Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) may impact the timing of payments to be made to participants and their beneficiaries under such plans – if action is required, the affected plans must be amended before December 31, 2020 to avoid complications or penalties.

Continue Reading Changes to Section 162(m) Affecting Deferred Compensation Arrangements

As part of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) have recently provided relief to benefit plan sponsors by moving back certain upcoming plan compliance deadlines. See further below for a detailed list of the specific relief. IRS Notice 2020-23 provides that if any deadline would occur between April 1 and July 14, that deadline is automatically moved back until July 15, 2020, and this extension applies to a list of 44 employee benefit plan-related deadlines. The IRS notice triggered the PBGC’s disaster relief policy, which automatically extends certain PBGC deadlines that occur in the same April 1 to July 14 time period to July 15, 2020.

Additional relief was announced on April 28, in the form of a joint notice ( Joint Notice) issued by EBSA, IRS and the Treasury Department, which extended a number of deadlines for benefit plans and participants in accordance with CARES Act changes to ERISA Section 518. The Joint Notice’s relief applies to the “Outbreak Period,” the length of time beginning on March 1, 2020, and ending 60 days after the announcement that the COVID-19 National Emergency is over. On the same day, EBSA issued Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01 (Disaster Relief Notice). The Disaster Relief Notice clarified EBSA’s enforcement stance on certain fiduciary duties that plan sponsors have by extending deadlines. The Disaster Relief Notice also stated that the Outbreak Period extension, described in the Joint Notice, also applies to the distribution timelines for notices, disclosures, and other documents that Title I of ERISA requires plans to distribute to participants and beneficiaries. EBSA also released an FAQ which explains some of the relief provided by the Joint Notice and Disaster Relief Notice.

Continue Reading IRS, EBSA and PBGC Provide Further COVID-19 Relief for Benefit Plans

On March 12, 2014, the Department of Labor (the “DOL”) issued a proposed amendment to the final regulations under Section 408(b)(2) of ERISA which is the section of ERISA that requires covered service providers (“CSPs”) to disclose certain fee information to retirement plan fiduciaries.  The final Section 408(b)(2) regulations, issued by the DOL in 2012, generally require CSPs to furnish disclosures sufficient to enable plan fiduciaries to meet their ERISA fiduciary obligations regarding the selection and monitoring of CSPs.  The proposal would require CSPs that make Section 408(b)(2) disclosures in multiple or lengthy documents to furnish a guide intended to assist plan fiduciaries in reviewing such disclosures. 
Continue Reading Department of Labor Proposes Section 408(b)(2) Fee Disclosure Guide