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...


Maintaining Poor COBRA Procedures Can be Expensive – Part 2

By Angela Bohmann | March 24, 2014

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...


DOL Has Helpful ERISA Self-Compliance Tool

By Angela Bohmann | February 28, 2014

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...


An SPD Can be a Plan Document

By Angela Bohmann | February 13, 2014

Health Plan, Uncategorized In Cigna v. Amara, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the plan document is the governing document for an ERISA plan and that in a conflict between the plan document and the summary plan description (SPD), the plan document must be enforced. A participant misled by an SPD may be able to bring various claims based on the...


Even a Tax Lawyer can get the IRA Rollover Rules Wrong

IRAs, Retirement Plans Individuals are permitted to roll over amounts in one IRA to another IRA only once in a 12 month period. The rollover must be completed within 60 days. A tax lawyer at a major New York law firm recently tripped on this rule to his detriment. The tax lawyer had several different IRAs. He took rollover distributions...


Former Employee Cannot Recover Penalties for COBRA Notice Violation

By Angela Bohmann | February 11, 2014

Health Plan Terminating employees who lose coverage under an employer’s group health plan are frequently entitled to continue that coverage under the federal law commonly known as COBRA. Employers are required to provide a former employee with a notice at the time of termination of employment describing the employee’s rights...


Gas Prices Must be Going Down

By Angela Bohmann | December 10, 2013

Cafeteria Plans, Payroll Every year the IRS issues optional standard mileage rates that can be used by taxpayers to calculate the deductible cost of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Many employers reimburse employees based on this standard mileage rate. The standard mileage rate also factors into...