Benefits Notes |

Employee benefits are an important part of every employees' total compensation package. The continuously evolving landscape in the areas of health care reform, retirement plan design, and executive compensation makes it difficult for employee benefits professionals to keep up with relevant developments. The employee benefits attorneys at Stinson Leonard Street provide human resources professionals, plan fiduciaries, actuaries, accountants, and others in the industry with practical and cost-effective assistance as they navigate through the complex laws, regulations and guidance that govern employee benefits plans. This blog highlights key developments in the employee benefits field and items of interest to our clients. Our Bloggers →

Latest Benefits Notes Posts

IRS Wins One at Supreme Court: Severance Pay is Subject to FICA Tax

By Angela Bohmann | April 1, 2014

Compensation Questions, Payroll I blogged about the Quality Stores decision which at the district court and court of appeals levels held that certain severance payments were not subject to FICA (Social Security) taxes. The IRS had challenged the employer in that case and had lost in both lower courts. At the Supreme Court level, the IRS won. The...


Even a Tax Lawyer Can Get the IRA Rollover Rules Wrong – Part 2

IRAs I blogged recently about a tax court decision where a tax lawyer flubbed an IRA rollover, resulting in adverse tax consequences to him and his wife. An interesting aspect of the case – but one not mentioned in the decision – is that the tax lawyer’s action were consistent with the IRA rollover rules as described...


Another Way to Become Personally Liable to a Multiemployer Plan

By Angela Bohmann | March 26, 2014

Fiduciary Guidance, Multi-employer Plans I have blogged in the past about individuals and businesses that are not signatories to a collective bargaining agreement being found liable for withdrawal liability imposed by multiemployer pension plans (plans jointly trusteed by union and management trustees for the benefit of a number of unionized employers)....


ACA Pay or Play: Is Your Dependent Coverage Compliant?

By Angela Bohmann | March 25, 2014

Health Care Reform, Health Plan Now that the IRS has issued final regulations under Section 4980H, the so-called “pay or play” provision of the Affordable Care Act, employers are deciding how to determine whether employees are full-time (30 hours or more a week on average), whether the coverage the employer offers is affordable (generally no...


Despite upholding a $13.4 million judgment against plan fiduciaries, the Eighth Circuit gives plan sponsors a lot to like in Tussey decision.

By Sam Butler | March 24, 2014

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans On March 19, 2014, a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued its decision in Tussey v. ABB, Inc., No. 12-2056 (8th Cir. Mar. 19, 2014).  The case came to the Eighth Circuit on an appeal of a decision by the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri...


Maintaining Poor COBRA Procedures Can be Expensive – Part 2

Health Care Reform Back in 2013 I blogged about an employer who was ordered to pay a COBRA penalty of $1,852,500 to a class of employees to whom timely COBRA notices had not been sent. That amount was equal to $2,500 per affected participant. I mentioned that the class would also be entitled to attorneys’ fees yet to be awarded. The...


“Having Trouble Understanding Your Fiduciary Fee Disclosures?” DOL Proposes Regulations Requiring New Disclosure “Guide”.

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 13, 2014

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans As noted in my previous Blog entries regarding the ERISA Section 408(b)(2) fee disclosures from covered service providers to plan fiduciaries, the original disclosures were required by July 1, 2012. Since that time, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been requesting copies of the required disclosures from plan...


MARCH 2014 – IRS Issues Final “Pay or Play” Regulations

By Jewelie Grape | February 28, 2014

Health Care Reform On February 12, 2014, the Treasury Department issued final regulations for the employer shared responsibility (“pay or play”) requirement under the Affordable Care Act (proposed regulations were issued in December of 2012). The regulations provide a large number of clarifications and transition relief – this...


New Internal Revenue Service Regulation Clarify when Property is Subject to a Substantial Risk of Forfeiture

By Sam Butler |

Deferred Compensation and 409A On February 26, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service published a final regulation clarifying the meaning of "substantial risk of forfeiture" under section 83 of the Internal Revenue Code.  The new guidance will help taxpayers who receive property, other than money, in exchange for services determine when they must...


DOL Has Helpful ERISA Self-Compliance Tool

Form 5500s, Health Care Reform, Health Plan The Department of Labor recently issued the Form M-1, an annual report that must be filed by Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs). In general, a MEWA is an arrangement that offers health or other welfare benefits to employees of more than one employer. Employers that are part of a controlled group of...