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 Retirement Plans Posts

New Reportable Events Filing May Affect Borrowers with Defined Benefit Pension Plans

By Angela Bohmann | February 3, 2016

Retirement Plans This article is for employers who sponsor defined benefit plans that are subject to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) coverage. Those employers pay premiums to the PBGC and also are required to report certain events to the PBGC. Some events must be reported in advance; others are reportable after the event...

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IRS Relaxes Rules for Mid-Year Changes

By Jeffrey Cairns | February 2, 2016

Retirement Plans Since its availability, many 401(k) plan sponsors, particularly smaller employers have adopted a “Safe Harbor” plan design under Code Section 401(k)(12) or (13) and 401(m)(11) or (12). Safe Harbor plan designs include both a fully vested 3% qualified non-elective employer contribution or a fully vested employer...

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Another ROBS Gone Wrong – IRS Disqualifies ESOP

By Jeffrey Cairns | January 5, 2016

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans On November 23, 2015, the U.S. Tax Court issued a declaratory judgment that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not abuse its discretion in issuing a Letter of Revocation of the tax qualified status of the Fleming Cardiovascular, P.A. Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Background The Plan sponsor, Fleming...

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IRS Annual Limits on Qualified Plans

By Jeffrey Cairns | October 22, 2015

Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2016 cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans and health savings accounts, which are largely unchanged from the 2015 numbers. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/IR-15-118.pdf.  The following chart...

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Can an LLC Adopt an ESOP? IRS Says Yes

By Jeffrey Cairns | October 20, 2015

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In a private letter ruling released on September 18, 2015 (PLR 201538021),  the Internal Revenue Service concluded that an employer organized as a limited liability company (LLC) under a state statute, upon making a federal tax election to be taxed as a corporation, can adopt an employee stock ownership plan under...

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Same Sex Marriage: Effect on Benefits

By Angela Bohmann | July 2, 2015

Cafeteria Plans, ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans The United States Supreme Court recently held in Obergefell v. Hodges http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf that all states must recognize and allow marriages between same sex partners. Depending on an employer's current employee benefits plan, certain provisions may need to be changed in light of...

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A Bad Deed is Not Entirely Unpunished

By Angela Bohmann | May 13, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans Richard Thomas embezzled nearly $20,000,000 from his employer. The employer then kept Thomas’s profit sharing account of about $21,000 as an offset against the embezzled amount. Of course, this violated ERISA’s anti-alienation provisions. Thomas sued his former employer for the money and won. To add to the...

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Ameriprise Avoids Trial On Class Action Suit By Current and Former Employees With $27.5 Million Payment

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 31, 2015

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans In 2011, a group of current and former employees filed a class action lawsuit in the District Court of Minnesota claiming that Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and members of its 401(k) Plan fiduciary committee had breached their fiduciary duty to the Plan participants and engaged in self-dealing. The specific actions...

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DOL Gives Retirement Plan Sponsors of Participant Directed Retirement Plans Additional Time to Provide Employee Fee Disclosures

By Jeffrey Cairns | March 19, 2015

Fiduciary Guidance, Retirement Plans U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations require 401(k) plan fiduciaries to provide plan participants with a detailed disclosure statement about the plan’s designated investment alternatives, prior to initial enrollment and at least annually thereafter. The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)...

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Make Sure Participants Know When Their Plan Benefits Have Been Transferred

By Angela Bohmann | February 25, 2015

Retirement Plans Employers need to make sure that their employees know when benefits shift from one plan to another as illustrated by this case from Utah: Martin Marietta Corporation (Martin) operated a cement plant that it later decided to lease to Southwestern Portland Cement Company (Southwestern). The employees operating the...

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