Industry & Regulatory NewsDepartment of Labor Changes “Employee vs. Contractor” Rule
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has once again released guidance on the definition of “employee.” This October 2022 guidance, in the form of proposed regulations, applies primarily to determinations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but may help in other contexts, such as in determining whether a worker should be covered by a retirement or health plan. Although the new rules are not radically different from previous regulations, there are some important changes.
Industry & Regulatory NewsFederal Prime Interest Rate Increased to 4.75%
Effective June 15, 2022, the Federal Prime interest rate increased from 4.00% to 4.75%. The Prime interest rate is largely determined by the federal funds rate, as set by the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). As Department of Labor regulations require a retirement plan loan interest rate to be comparable to interest rates charged by entities that are in the business of lending money in similar circumstances, plan sponsors typically use a benchmark such as the Prime rate to set the interest rate on plan loans.
The next FOMC meeting is scheduled for July 26-27, 2022.
Industry & Regulatory NewsRetirement Spotlight: IRS Finalizes Mandatory 60-Day Postponement Period for Federally Declared Disasters
The average number of natural disasters continues to rise. As a result, Congress and the IRS have tried to keep pace by providing relief for those affected by major disasters and emergencies. In December 2019, the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 amended Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Sec. 7508A by requiring a new mandatory 60-day postponement period for certain tax-related acts following a federally declared disaster. To help clarify the new rule, the IRS issued final regulations in June 2021. The regulations 1) explain how the new mandatory 60-day postponement period is determined, and 2) clarify how the term “federally declared disaster” is defined under IRC Sec.165.
Industry & Regulatory NewsRetirement Spotlight – IRS Offers First Answers to Post-SECURE Act Reporting Questions
The most extensive changes to retirement saving in more than a decade became law when President Trump signed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (FCAA) on December 20, 2019. While the main purpose of the FCAA was to fund the federal government for the next fiscal year, Congress also added significant retirement provisions to the FCAA by including the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act in the broader bill.
Industry & Regulatory NewsRetirement Spotlight: January 2020 Spotlight on Important SECURE Act Provisions For Financial Advisors
The new year promises to provide plentiful opportunities for financial advisors to gain business and to demonstrate expertise to existing clients. As you likely know, the SECURE Act was signed into law on December 20, 2019. Many of the Act’s provisions took effect on January 1, 2020. Most of them offer real benefits to your clients; other provisions may not be as helpful, but you still need to understand them to provide the best service possible. This Retirement Spotlight focuses on a half-dozen SECURE Act provisions that will make the most significant impact on your retirement plan practice.
Industry & Regulatory NewsRetirement Spotlight: DOL Releases Additional Investment Advice Guidance
Objective investment advice. Simple concept, right? And most everyone agrees that every saver and retirement investor is entitled to this. But ensuring that individuals have access to objective investment advice is easier said than done. In fact, the Department of Labor (DOL) has been trying to make this happen since the 1970s, when it first released a five-part test to help determine whether investment professionals owed their clients a duty to provide objective advice.
Industry & Regulatory NewsRetirement Spotlight: Missing Participants - Prevention is the Best Cure
When employers start a retirement plan, they may ask who should be eligible to participate, what kind of contributions should be made, and how and when can employees access their account balances? Unfortunately, many employers don’t consider how to handle missing participants’ account balances—or more importantly—how to prevent losing track of participants in the first place.
Industry & Regulatory NewsRetirement Spotlight: IRS Aims to Clarify 60-Day Postponement Rule for Federally Declared Disasters
At the end of 2019, the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) was amended to create a mandatory 60-day postponement for certain federal tax-related deadlines in the event of a disaster. This new provision was designed to ensure that affected taxpayers would have guaranteed relief while recovering from a natural disaster or other emergency. But this measure didn’t seem to affect how the IRS had already been responding to such events. In fact, the new law created some ambiguity.
Industry & Regulatory NewsRetirement Spotlight: IRS Gives SECURE Act Guidance on Traditional and QACA Safe Harbor Plans
The SECURE Act makes it easier for employers to adopt ADP/ACP safe harbor plan provisions. These plans, which include both “traditional” safe harbor plans and qualified automatic contribution arrangements (QACAs), have proven popular with many employers. This is because such plans are usually deemed to pass several nondiscrimination tests. IRS Notice 2020-86 provides guidance on some of the details of these SECURE Act provisions, including direction on amendments and notices. But while this notice gives important direction, we await more comprehensive regulatory guidance.
Industry & Regulatory NewsRetirement Spotlight: Terminating Custodial 403(b) Plans Get Distribution Relief
The IRS has issued Revenue Ruling 2020-23 to address how employers may terminate 403(b) plans that contain custodial accounts. This guidance gives plan administrators direction on how they can distribute plan assets to participants in order to satisfy plan termination requirements. The revenue ruling also gives the option for plan participants to preserve their accounts—as 403(b) accounts—following a plan termination, or to roll them over to an eligible retirement plan.