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

What if DOMA Is Declared Unconstitutional?

By Angela Bohmann | March 5, 2012

Health Plan, Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans Most employers are aware that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal law purposes, including federal tax and benefits law. For benefits governed by ERISA, this means that state laws that recognize same sex marriages are preempted. Although for...

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Can You Decline Medicare if You Take Social Security?

By Angela Bohmann | February 29, 2012

Health Plan The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently said no. A group of seniors, including former US House Majority Leader Dick Armey, had sued the federal government to be allowed to accept Social Security payments, but decline Medicare coverage. They preferred to keep their private coverage to...

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Unreasonably Low Compensation and FICA Taxes

Compensation Questions, Payroll In many cases where the IRS claims that compensation is not "reasonable," the focus is on whether the compensation is too high to be deductible by the employer. The arguments are often reversed in the S corporation context. Because there is only one level of tax in the S Corporation, some owners try to minimize the...

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Thoughts on the Longevity Annuity Guidance Issued by the IRS

By Angela Bohmann | February 23, 2012

IRAs, Retirement Plans I am of an age to be contemplating retirement (and I work in the field so that age may come sooner for me than for others).  My parents are both in their late 80s; I had a grandmother who died a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday.  So I have a personal interest in the risk of outliving one’s retirement...

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A Quirk in the Effective Date for the New Summary of Benefits and Coverage

Health Care Reform, Health Plan This is one of several posts we intend to make on the recently issued guidance on the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC).  This is the four (double sided, so actually eight) page uniform summary that will be required for group health plans, as well as for individual insurance policies.  It is intended to provide...

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Section 401(k) Compliance Check Questionnaire — Interim Report Issued

By Angela Bohmann | February 22, 2012

Retirement Plans Those of you interested in data regarding the prevalence of certain features in 401(k) plans may find of interest the Interim Report on the Section 401(k) Compliance Check Questionnaire.  This is the first report of the IRS on the extensive questionnaire that it sent to sponsors of 401(k) plans a year or so ago. ...

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Deficit Reduction, Tax Expenditures and Retirement Plans

By Angela Bohmann | February 18, 2012

Retirement Plans There has been a lot of talk in Washington about deficit reduction, tax expenditures and tax reform. One of the largest identified tax expenditures is the exclusion for employer provided retirement plans, both defined contribution and defined benefit. I was at a seminar recently where the reported number for 2011 was...

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A Most Unusual QDRO Decision

By Angela Bohmann | January 6, 2012

ERISA and Other Benefits Litigation, Retirement Plans Most qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) cases are fights that affect the formerly married spouses and the plan sponsor or plan administrator. They do not typically affect the other participants in the plan. The case of Milgram v. Orthopedic Associates Defined Contribution Pension Plan (No. 10-862-cv. 2d Cir....

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Payroll Tax Holiday Extension Contains Recapture Provision

By Angela Bohmann | December 28, 2011

Payroll Most of us have heard that Congress finally extended the 2% payroll tax holiday for two months, namely, through February 29, 2012. In order to prevent highly paid employees from front loading their wages to take advantage of the payroll tax holiday for the entire $110,100 social security wage base, the legislation...

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Expanded 1099 Reporting Requirements Repealed

By Jeffrey Cairns | April 20, 2011

Health Care Reform This is the thirteenth in a series of articles about health care reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the Act) amended Section 6041 of the Internal Revenue Code to expand the types of payees and payments that must be reported by business taxpayers beginning in 2012. Under the Act, a...

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