ERISA & Employee Benefits

Court of Appeals Decision on Fiduciary Rule Changes the Legal Landscape and Creates Uncertainty

The viability of the DOL's Fiduciary Rule and related exemptions was put in some doubt yesterday by a Court of Appeals decision that "vacate[s] the Fiduciary Rule in toto." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. United States Department of Labor, upheld a comprehensive challenge brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, SIFMA, the American Council of Life ...

Qualified Plan Changes in Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

On February 9, 2018, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 ("Budget Act"). This two-year budget agreement contains a number of provisions relating to tax-qualified retirement plans, including hardship withdrawal changes, improper levies, and disaster relief provisions.

Compensation and Benefits: The Front Line in the War Against Sexual Harassment

Our article, "Hitting Workplace Harassers Where It Hurts" (National Law Journal, 12/30/2017*), began by recognizing that a 2016 EEOC study carried the following warning about sexual harassment in the workplace: "Much of the training done over the last 30 years has not worked as a prevention tool." We concluded with this suggestion: "Imagine a training session that starts by highlighting the ...

IRS Extends Deadline for ALEs to Distribute 2017 ACA Reporting Forms to Individuals

The IRS has issued Notice 2018-06, which provides an automatic 30-day extension to the deadline for Applicable Large Employers ("ALEs") to distribute the 2017 Affordable Care Act ("ACA") reporting forms to employees and covered individuals.

PBGC Issues Final Regulations for Terminating Defined Contribution Plans

The issue of missing participants in terminating defined contribution plans is not a new one. The issue was addressed by the Department of Labor in Field Assistance Bulletin, 2014-01, Fiduciary Duties and Missing Participants in Terminated Defined Contribution Plans ("FAB 2014-01"). FAB 2014-01 provided guidance with respect to search steps and distribution options for terminating defined ...

2018 Medicare Part A Deductibles and Part B Premiums

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") has announced the Medicare Part A deductibles and Part B premiums for 2018. Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital and hospice care, while Part B covers outpatient services such as doctors' visits.

Excess Employee Remuneration for Tax-Exempt Organizations

Today, President Trump signed the tax bill (formerly known as "The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act") into law. The tax bill had to be renamed as the not-too-catchy "Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018" (the "Act") after the Senate parliamentarian objected to the original name. The tax bill was passed by both Chambers ...

Tax Reform Bill Passes Both Chambers; Awaiting President's Signature

House and Senate Republicans voted along party lines yesterday and into the early hours today to pass a tax reform bill, after weeks of wrangling by both Chambers to reconcile the respective versions of their bills (the "House Bill" and "Senate Bill", respectively.) The House vote was not without drama as the Senate parliamentarian objected to three provisions in the Senate Bill, one being the ...

Social Security Administration Revises 2018 Taxable Wage Base Cost-of-Living Adjustment

On November 27, 2018, the Social Security Administration issued a press release announcing its revision of the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax for 2018 from $128,700, as announced on October 13, 2017, to $128,400. The Social Security Administration indicated that the lowering of the 2018 cost-of-living adjustment to the Social Security wage base was a result of ...

DOL Extends Transition Period for BICE and Other Exemptions by 18 Months

The DOL finalized its proposed 18-month extension - from January 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019 - of the Transition Period for the Best Interest Contract Exemption ("BICE"), Principal Transactions Exemption and PTE 84-24 (collectively, the "Fiduciary Compensation Exemptions" or "Exemptions"). The formal notice of DOL action will be published in the Federal Register on November 29, 2017.