More retirement-related regulatory news for plan sponsors, including links to detailed information.
Hearing testimony of House HELP subcommittee on strengthening the multiemployer pension system
The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), chaired by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), recently held a hearing entitled, “Strengthening the Multiemployer Pension System: What Reforms Should Policymakers Consider?” The hearing provided members an overview of possible reforms, including a proposal released by the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans.
For more information, click here.
DOL advisory opinion rejects Teamsters pension plan’s request to be multiemployer plan
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued Advisory Opinion 2013-02A, which concludes that the Teamsters Union pension plan that provides benefits for officers, business agents, trustees, or clerical employees should not be treated as a multiemployer plan under ERISA.
The DOL wrote “Based on an evaluation of these factors, and the information you presented, the Department is unable to conclude that the Plan should be treated as maintained pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement for purposes of ERISA 3(37)(G) because there is no evidence that the Plan was established or is maintained pursuant to an agreement resulting from a bona fide collective bargaining relationship. In the Department’s view, such a conclusion in this case requires evidence of actual collective bargaining between one or more employers and an employee organization that represents the employer(s)’s employees covered by such agreement with respect to grievances, disputes, or other matters involving employment terms and conditions other than coverage under, or contributions to, the Plan. The information you submitted indicates only the existence of agreements by the participating Local Unions (in their capacity as employers) to make contributions to the Plan. These documents do not establish an agreement between the Local Unions, as employers, and the Joint Council, as a chosen representative of the employees, for purposes of negotiating with respect to the Plan or any other terms or conditions of employment.”
Read the entire advisory opinion here.
DOL issues compliance guidance for employee benefit plans after Oklahoma tornado
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi recently announced the following guidance on compliance with employee benefit plan rules for those adversely impacted by the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado:
“The U.S. Department of Labor understands that as the practical and personal implications of the Oklahoma tornado unfold, plan fiduciaries, employers, labor organizations, service providers, participants and beneficiaries may encounter compliance-related issues over the next few months in connection with employee benefit plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The guidance provided in this statement applies to employee benefit plans, plan sponsors and service providers to such employers, located in one of the counties that have been identified as covered disaster areas because of the devastation caused by the Oklahoma tornado that occurred on May 20, 2013. Covered disaster areas are identified as federally declared disaster areas in the news releases issued by the Internal Revenue Service for victims of the Oklahoma tornado, which can be found at [the IRS website].”
For more information, click here.
Disclosure authorization and electronic account resolution retire this August
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is retiring the Disclosure Authorization (DA) and Electronic Account Resolution (EAR) options on e-Services on August 11.
Largely because of low usage of e-Service’s DA and EAR, the IRS has decided to retire and remove the two applications effective August 11.
Last year, users submitted less than 10% of all disclosure authorizations through the DA application. Similarly, only 3% of all account-related issues came in through the EAR application.
In anticipation of this change, the IRS increased the number of employees who process authorizations and has improved internal work processes to decrease the average processing time significantly from the current 10-day processing period.
The IRS will continue to explore better ways to reduce processing time and improve overall service to the users. However, current budget cuts will impact their dedicated resources to this program and they are working to determine the impact on processing time.
Once IRS removes the two applications, former DA users will need to complete Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or Form 8821, Tax Information Authorizations, and mail or fax it to the appropriate IRS location listed on the form’s instructions. Please allow at least four days for the authorization to post to the IRS database before requesting a transcript through the Transcript Delivery System. Former EAR users should call the Practitioner Priority Service at 1-866-860-4259 for help resolving account-related issues.
The IRS continues to look for ways to improve its current processes and is exploring an improved electronic solution for DA and EAR in the future.