More retirement-related regulatory news for plan sponsors, including links to detailed information.
House Ways and Means chairman releases tax reform proposal
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) has released his tax reform proposal, which includes provisions affecting compensation and employment-based benefits.
The proposal would modify or eliminate a number of individual income tax deductions, exclusions, and credits (e.g., state/local income tax payments, mortgage interest deductions, earned income tax credit). Notably, the proposal calls for “converting certain excludable contributions to 401(k) accounts into taxable contributions, with an exclusion at withdrawal.”
Although tax reform is not expected to advance this year, the proposal could serve as a starting point for future negotiations. Camp’s tenure as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee expires at the end of this year, and Rep. Rand Paul (R-KY) is in line to succeed him in that leadership post.
To read the tax reform proposal, click here.
GASB proposes new GAAP hierarchy for state and local governments and exposes entire implementation guide for public comment
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued an exposure draft “The Hierarchy of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for State and Local Governments.” The hierarchy of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) – or ‘GAAP hierarchy’ – comprises the types of guidance that state and local governments follow when preparing financial statements. The GAAP hierarchy lists the order of priority for pronouncements to which a government should look for guidance.
The GASB also issued an accompanying proposed implementation guide, Implementation Guide No. 20xx-1, which is a culmination of all implementation guidance to date. The Board’s decision to elevate the level of the implementation guidance in the GAAP hierarchy would require that implementation guides be exposed for a period of broad public comment, as with other GASB pronouncements. The change in the authoritativeness level of implementation guidance necessitated certain changes to the existing guidance; a list and description of changes can be found in Appendix C of the proposed implementation guide.
Stakeholders are encouraged to review the proposals and provide comments by December 31, 2014.
Department of Commerce submits request for information for certification program for access to SSA Death Master File
The Department of Commerce published a request for information (RFI) from users of the Death Master File (SMF). The RFI is requesting comments from the public regarding the establishment and implementation of a certification program for access to the DMF. The comments will inform the National Technical Information Service’s (NTIS) approach to the development of a certification program, which will be promulgated by NTIS by notice and comment rulemaking.
The Commerce Department’s NTIS is actively working with the Social Security Administration to draft proposed rules for the establishment of a certification program. The proposed rules will be published in the Federal Register for public comment.
Many defined benefit and defined contribution plans use the Department of Commerce’s DMF. For example, for benefits paid in the form of a joint and survivor annuity, DMF information is needed to ensure that the correct payments are made to the correct recipients. Defined contribution plans need the information to determine when a plan beneficiary becomes eligible for benefits.
Post-implementation review concludes fair value accounting standard meets its objectives
A 2006 accounting standard that established a framework for measuring fair value within United States GAAP generally achieves its purpose. That was the central conclusion of the post-implementation review (PIR) of Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Statement No. 157, Fair Value Measurements.
To read the entire post-implementation review, click here.