Category Archives: Benefit News

IRS reduces fees for qualified retirement plan sponsors to correct errors

For 2018, the IRS has significantly lowered the fees that most tax-qualified retirement plan sponsors must pay to correct errors under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System’s Voluntary Correction Program (VCP). The VCP’s new, lowered user fees are provided in Revenue Procedure 2018-4, and are based on plan assets and capped at $3,500. Previously, the fees were based on the number of plan participants and capped at $15,000. In addition, the fee covers all eligible errors and a single submission may cover multiple errors, but the reduced fees for streamlined filings (e.g., to correct minor errors such as loan or minimum distribution failures) no longer are available.

Small plans with 50 or fewer participants will experience an increase in costs, as previously, the VCP user fees were $500 for 20 or fewer participants and $750 for 21-50 participants.

The fees effective for VCP applications mailed to the IRS on or after January 2, 2018, are:

Plan Assets Fees for 2018
$0 to $500,000 $1,500
Over $500,000 to $10,000,000 $3,000
Over $10,000,000 $3,500

The most recently filed Form 5500-series return (Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan) is used to determine a plan’s net assets. Special rules apply to plan sponsors that are not required to file Form 5500, as well as for very small plans (e.g., SEPs, SARSEPs, SIMPLE IRAs). The new fee schedule does not apply to group VCP submissions, nor to “orphan” plans or 457(b) tax-deferred plans.

Reporting fees on Form 8951
The IRS is currently revising Form 8951, User Fee for Application for Voluntary Correction Program (VCP). Until a revised form is available, the IRS advises plan sponsors to:

• Continue using the current Form 8951 (Rev. September 2016), ignoring the information on the form that suggests VCP fees are determined based upon the number of plan participants.
• Not check boxes on Lines 8(a) through 8(c) because they no longer apply.
• Attach a check for the fee amount specified in Rev. Proc. 2018-4, Appendix A.09.

For information about the new VCP fees and for assistance with assessing whether to proceed with VCP or other, possibly more appropriate correction programs, please contact your Milliman consultant.

Regulatory roundup

More retirement-related regulatory news for plan sponsors, including links to detailed information.

Final rule adjusting maximum civil penalties for certain multiemployer plan notices issued
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is required to amend its regulations annually to adjust for inflation the maximum civil penalty for failure to provide certain notices or other material information and for failure to provide certain multiemployer plan notices. The final rule adjusts, as required for 2018, the maximum civil penalties under 29 CFR part 4071 and 29 CFR part 4302 that PBGC may assess for failure to provide certain notices or other material information and certain multiemployer plan notices.

The new maximum amounts are $2,140 for section 4071 penalties and $285 for section 4302 penalties.

Section 4302, added to ERISA by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980, authorizes PBGC to assess a civil penalty of up to $100 a day for failure to provide a notice under subtitle E of title IV of ERISA (dealing with multiemployer plans). Section 4071, added to ERISA by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, authorizes PBGC to assess a civil penalty of up to $1,000 a day for failure to provide a notice or other material information under subtitles A, B, and C of title IV and sections 303(k)(4) and 306(g)(4) of title I of ERISA.

This rule is effective as of January 12, 2018.

For more information, click here.

PBGC releases 2018 premium filing instructions
The Comprehensive Premium Filing Instructions for 2018 Plan Years are now available on the PBGC website. The document now features a new section alerting practitioners to the most common premium filing mistakes. In addition, the examples in the section about how to determine premiums in a year when a plan is involved with a spinoff, merger, or consolidation, have been expanded.

For more information, click here.

IRS compliance project published
The IRS’ Employee Plans Compliance Unit has issued a summary of a compliance project related to pension feature code(s) missing, inconsistent, or incomplete on Line 8a of the Form 5500, line 9a of the Form 5500-SF, and Form 5500-EZ line 8 for certain plan years. The primary goal is to correct and verify the pension feature codes on the selected returns in order to have useful information. Additional goals are to identify the underlying causes for missing pension feature codes and to make recommendations to improve IRS’ systems.

For more information, click here.

Regulatory roundup

More retirement-related regulatory news for plan sponsors, including links to detailed information.

Participant and plan sponsor advocate report published
The PBGC released its Annual Report of the Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate. The report’s provides a pension de-risking study commissioned by the Office of the Advocate at the request of plan sponsors. The study focuses on PBGC and Congressional actions that may slow pension de-risking activity. It also highlights the drivers and causes of de-risking.

To download the PBGC’s report, click here.

Regulatory roundup

More retirement-related regulatory news for plan sponsors, including links to detailed information.

Updated revenue procedures for employee plans and exempt organizations
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has published revisions to various revenue procedures for issuing letters, rulings, determination letters, and technical advice on specific issues related to employee benefits.

To download Internal Revenue Bulletin 2018-1, click here.

IRS provides statement on 2018 withholding
In a statement published on its website, the IRS mentioned it was working to develop withholding guidance to implement the tax reform bill signed into law on December 22. The agency anticipates issuing the initial withholding guidance in January. Employers and payroll service providers will be encouraged to implement the changes in February. The IRS emphasized that this information will be designed to work with the existing Forms W-4 that employees have already filed, and no further action by taxpayers is needed at this time.

To learn more, click here.

Annual inflation-adjusted civil penalties released
The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act) requires the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to annually adjust its civil money penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. The DOL has published a final rule establishing its 2018 annual adjustments.

To read the entire final rule, click here.