Tag Archives: IRS

Regulatory roundup

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

CBO issues cost estimate of House GOP tax bill and scores estimated deficits and debts under Senate tax bill
In the House, H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, would amend numerous provisions of U.S. tax law. The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates that enacting the bill would reduce revenues by about $1,438 billion over the 2018-2027 period, and decrease outlays by $2 billion over the same period, leading to an increase in the deficit of $1,437 billion over the next 10 years. For the Senate’s tax bill, the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation determined that provisions in the Chairman’s Mark would increase deficits over the 2018-2027 period by $1.5 trillion (not including any macroeconomic effects). By the estimate of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), additional debt service would boost the 10-year increase in deficits to $1.7 trillion. As a result of those higher deficits, debt held by the public would increase from the 91.2% of gross domestic product in CBO’s June 2017 baseline to 97.3%.

For more information, click here and here.

IRS releases new information package
Defined Contribution Listing of Required Modifications and Information Package contains samples of plan provisions that have been found to satisfy certain specific requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, taking into account changes in the plan qualification requirements, regulations, revenue rulings, and other guidance in the 2017 Cumulative List of Changes in Plan Qualification Requirements (Notice 2017-37, 2017-29 I.R.B. 89). The package has been prepared to assist providers who are drafting or redrafting plans to conform to applicable law and regulations, with the goal that it will be a key factor in enabling the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to process and approve preapproved plans more quickly.

For more information, click here.

Multiemployer program deficit widens to $65.1 billion, single-employer program improves according to PBGC annual report
The Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) shows that the deficit in its insurance program for multiemployer plans rose to $65.1 billion at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2017, up from $58.8 billion a year earlier. The increase was driven primarily by the ongoing financial decline of several large multiemployer plans that are expected to run out of money in the next decade.

The PBGC’s Single-Employer Insurance Program continued to improve as the deficit dropped to $10.9 billion at the end of FY 2017, compared to $20.6 billion at the end of FY 2016. The primary drivers of the continued improvement include premium and investment income and increases in the interest factors used to measure the value of future liabilities.

For more information, click here.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports twice as many discrimination lawsuits in 2017
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed more than twice as many discrimination lawsuits in FY 2017 as it did in the previous year, while also putting a significant dent in a persistent backlog of pending investigations that had recently drawn the ire of lawmakers, according to an agency report.

For more information, click here.

Regulatory roundup

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

Relief for victims of Hurricane Maria and the California wildfires
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Announcement 2017-15 provides relief to taxpayers adversely affected by Hurricane Maria and recent wildfires in California (California Wildfires). The announcement allows individuals in qualified employer plans to use retirement assets to alleviate hardships caused by these disasters. The IRS announcement also provides relief from certain verification procedures that may be required under retirement plans with respect to loans and hardship distributions.

For more information, click here.

Memo regarding missing participants and beneficiaries and required minimum distributions
The IRS released a memorandum directing employee plans examiners not to challenge a qualified plan as failing to satisfy the required minimum distribution (RMD) standards under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 401(a)(9) in the circumstances set forth below. The memo addresses only the application of IRC §401(a)(9) to certain circumstances involving a plan’s action related to a benefit of a participant or beneficiary whom the plan is unable to locate. It does not address the application of any other qualification requirements or other applicable law, including Title I of ERISA.

For more information, click here.

Guarantee limit for single-employer defined benefit plans for 2018 announced
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced that the guarantee limits for single-employer plans that fail in 2018 will be 0.95% higher than the limits that applied for 2017 as a result of the indexing rules provided in ERISA. A table showing the single-employer plan guarantee limits for various ages and payment forms is available on the PBGC’s website. The guarantee limits for multiemployer plans are not indexed and, therefore, have not changed.

To view the table, click here.

Treasury final rule on mortality tables
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the final rule published by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRS, entitled “Mortality Tables for Determining Present Value under Defined Benefit Pension Plans.”

According to the GAO analysis, the IRS summarized the costs of this final rule by stating that substantially all of the amounts involved (decreased tax revenue, increased plan contributions and PBGC premiums) constitute transfer payments rather than costs. The amounts are monetary payments from one entity to another that do not affect total resources available to society. The IRS believes that the incremental administrative costs to implement this regulation are negligible because plan sponsors would have to incur the same costs to update their plan administration software to reflect the new mortality tables under these regulations as they would incur in implementing the annual update to the mortality tables that would apply in the absence of these regulations. The final rule has tables showing the impact of the rule and revenue collection, contribution requirements, and PBGC premiums.

For more information, click here.

Present value of PBGC maximum guarantee
The PBGC posted a table showing the applicable present values for 2018 plan years. The PBGC also posted a two-column version of the table for convenient copying.

For more information, click here.

Regulatory roundup

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

New report on long-term projections for Social Security
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the report “CBO’s 2017 Long-Term Projections for Social Security: Additional Information.” This year, in lieu of publishing a separate report providing additional information on the agency’s long-term projections for Social Security, the CBO is publishing the data that it would have presented in that report.

For more information, click here.

Changes to long-term Social Security projections since 2016
A report from the Congressional Research Service explains the changes to the CBO’s long-term Social Security projections since last year. Compared with those made in July 2016, the CBO’s latest projections indicate a slight improvement in the financial outlook for Social Security.

For more information, click here.

Revised factor for adjusting a participant’s high-3 compensation limitation under Section 415(b)(1)(B)
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2017-64, providing a listing of dollar limitations applicable to qualified retirement plans as adjusted for cost-of-living adjustments for 2018. This document provides a revised factor for adjusting a participant’s high-3 compensation limitation under section 415(b)(1)(B) of the Code for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. The revision is necessary due to the adjustment by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the months of July 2016 and August 2016, used in the calculation of the factor. After taking into consideration the adjustments made by the BLS, the factor is 1.0197.

For more information, click here.

COLAs for retirement, Social Security, and health benefits for 2018

With the release of the September 2017 Consumer Price Index (CPI) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have announced cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) figures for Social Security and retirement plan benefits, respectively, for 2018. The 2018 adjusted figures for high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) included in this Client Action Bulletin were released by the IRS earlier this year and are provided here for convenience.

Regulatory roundup

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

Proposed rule on claims procedure for plan providing disability benefits; extension of applicability date
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed a delay to the applicability of the final rule amending the claims procedure requirements applicable to ERISA-covered employee benefit plans that provide disability benefits for 90 days—through April 1, 2018.

The final rule was published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2016, and became effective on January 18, 2017. The rule is currently scheduled to apply to claims for disability benefits under ERISA-covered employee benefit plans that are filed on or after January 1, 2018.

For more information on the proposed rule, click here.

Guidance providing funding methods for single-employer defined benefit plans
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released two pieces of guidance providing funding methods for single-employer defined benefit plans.

Revenue Procedure 2017-56 updates Rev. Proc. 2000-40 to take into account the provisions of § 430 of the Internal Revenue Code, which was enacted as part of the Pension Protection Act of 2006. This revenue procedure provides automatic approval for certain changes in funding method used for single-employer defined benefit plans for calculations described under § 430. The approvals under this revenue procedure are granted in accordance with § 412(d)(1) of the Code and section 302(d)(1) of ERISA.

Revenue Procedure 2017-57 updates Rev. Proc. 2000-41 to take into account the enactment of subsequent legislation. This revenue procedure sets forth the procedure for obtaining approval of the IRS for a change in the funding method used for a defined benefit plan, as provided by § 412(d)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code and section 302(d)(1) of ERISA. This revenue procedure also sets forth the procedure for obtaining approval of the IRS to revoke an election relating to interest rates pursuant to § 430(h)(2)(D)(ii) or § 430(h)(2)(E) of the Code and the corresponding sections of ERISA.

For more information on Revenue Procedure 2017-56, click here.

For more information on Revenue Procedure 2017-57, click here.

IRS issues final rule on mortality tables for defined benefit plans

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a final rule updating the mortality assumptions that single-employer defined benefit (DB) pension plans must use to calculate the actuarial liabilities for minimum funding requirements, benefit restrictions, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) variable-rate premiums. The updated mortality tables are also used to calculate lump-sum distributions to plan participants in DB plans that offer such one-time payments. The final rule generally is applicable for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2018, but also provides a limited one-year transition period (to January 1, 2019), in certain circumstances.

The IRS concurrently released Notice 2017-60, with two mortality tables. The first is a sex-distinct table for the above-mentioned one-year 2018 transition period. The second is a unisex table (blended as 50% female mortality rates and 50% male mortality rates) that must be used for the calculation of certain optional forms of payments, such as lump-sum distributions, beginning with the 2018 plan years. Also released was Revenue Procedure 2017-55, providing instructions to obtain IRS approval of plan-specific mortality tables.

Although the final rule is aimed at single-employer DB plans, its mortality assumptions are also used to determine “current liability” for multiemployer pension plans and cooperative and small employer charity (CSEC) plans. This Client Action Bulletin provides more perspective on the final rule.