ERISA & Employee Benefits

The Wagner Law Group

When Will a Plan Administrator's Denial of Benefits be an Abuse of Discretion - In Discrete Circumstances Says the Ninth Circuit

Almost every ERISA employee benefit plan contains so-called "Firestone language," which grants discretionary authority to determine eligibility for benefits and construe the terms of a plan. If a plan contains such language, then a plan administrator's interpretation of the plan terms is reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard, which, as discussed below, is a standard that participants ...

Does Your Plan use a LIMITED SCOPE AUDIT for Form 5500 Financial Reporting?

There has been a significant new development for employee benefit plan administrators of large plans who opt for a "limited scope audit" by the plan's auditor for Form 5500 reporting of the plan's financial information, as permitted by ERISA Section 103(a)(3(C). This new development only applies in the event that information on the plan's assets is provided by and certified to by a bank or other ...

Proposed IRS Regulation Would Eliminate "One Bad Apple" Rule for Multiple Employer Defined Contribution Plans

On July 3, 2019, the IRS proposed a new regulation addressing one problem experienced by multiple employer defined contribution plans (DC MEPs) which are tax qualified as single plans under Section 413(c) of the Internal Revenue Code (the "Code"). Under 413(c), the failure by one contributing employer to meet the qualification rules would result in the disqualification of the entire plan. The ...

Deal-Breaking M&A Issues Related to Employee Benefit Plans and Executive Compensation

Employee benefit and executive compensation issues can disrupt merger and acquisition transactions when overlooked until the last minute, or cause major post-transaction problems if not properly addressed before closing. The list below is intended to facilitate the detection, negotiation, and resolution of possible employee benefit plan and executive compensation-related problems. As a general ...

IRS Expands Determination Letter Program - Revenue Procedure 2019-20

In Revenue Procedure 2016-37, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") eliminated the long-standing program under which a plan sponsor could request a determination that its individually-designed plan satisfies the tax-qualification requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a), except for initial qualifications and qualifications upon plan termination. Plan sponsors and employee benefit ...