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Simple IRAs vs. Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans: What Are the Differences?
Posted on Mar 5, 2014 (2 days ago)
3 page chart. Excerpt: "SIMPLE IRAs carry a lower administrative burden than 401(k) Safe Harbor Plans, due to simplified plan documents, and no annual compliance testing or 5500 government reporting requirements.... The purpose of this outline is to compare a SIMPLE IRA with a safe harbor 401(k) plan -- especially for employers who must cover participants other than just the owners." (Retirement Management Services, LLC)
Sure your 401k would pass an audit? Last year, most didn't
Posted on Feb 21, 2014 (14 days ago)
Employers are well aware that the feds are aggressively looking into company-sponsored 401k plans for compliance issues. So it's alarming to find out that the vast majority of plans the DOL looked at last year ran afoul of ...
An Interactive Look at the Key Retirement Plan Compliance Dates
Posted on Jan 30, 2014 (36 days ago)
"Compliance dates and fiduciary milestones may vary from plan to plan, but these sample quarterly calendars provide a great starting point from which to create a schedule specific to your plan. Please note that specific dates relate to calendar-year plans." (Fidelity Investments)
[Guidance Overview] FINRA Holiday 'Reminder': Broker-Dealer Responsibilities for IRA Rollover Recommendations (PDF)
Posted on Jan 27, 2014 (39 days ago)
"[M]ost registered representatives and the BDs that supervise them will be surprised by the breadth and depth of the challenging compliance requirements outlined by FINRA in the Notice.... While the Notice applies only to FINRA members, the guidance it contains appears to be a harbinger of the more broadly applicable approach that the [DOL] is likely to take in its effort to change the definition of 'fiduciary' under [ERISA].... The Notice suggests that, at least with respect to the rollover question, FINRA's views are moving into alignment with DOL's and concerns about uncoordinated guidance may be somewhat less compelling." (Groom Law Group)
Hardship Distributions: Summary of IRS Tips and Guidance (PDF)
Posted on Dec 17, 2013 (80 days ago)
"The popularity of arranging for a hardship distribution electronically is growing. As part of the process, a participant may self-certify that he or she has met the plan's hardship distribution criteria. However, the fact that the distribution application was processed electronically does not relieve a plan sponsor of the need to gather documentation as proof of the validity of the applicant's immediate and heavy financial need.... The IRS indicated that agents will look for documentation that supports the participant's request and proves that the plan sponsor's hardship distribution process is in compliance." (United Retirement Plan Consultants)
[Guidance Overview] Planning for ERISA Single-Employer Defined Contribution Plan Operations in (PDF)
Posted on Dec 16, 2013 (81 days ago)
"In addition to [various] testing and reporting requirements, plan sponsors may want to perform an annual 'checkup' (i.e., an audit of operational practices and fiduciary responsibilities). A plan checkup should address plan expenses, plan design considerations, participant fees and plan investments. The checkup should confirm the plan's compliance with the terms of the document and investment policy statement, if any. Review compliance test results with an eye toward making necessary plan design changes to improve testing results or eliminate testing altogether." (Buck Consultants)
2013 Year-End Compliance Reminders for Defined Contribution Plans Subject to ERISA (PDF)
Posted on Dec 11, 2013 (86 days ago)
"This information applies to qualified defined contribution plans and 403(b) plans that are subject to Title I of ERISA. Every year, plan sponsors must make sure their plans meet certain compliance requirements ... This publication identifies the materials you need to review and will help you prepare for year-end." (Prudential)
[Guidance Overview] 2014 Regulatory Limits Poster and Compliance Calendar
Posted on Dec 6, 2013 (91 days ago)
"The regulatory limits for 2014 poster describes regulatory limits for elective deferrals and catch-up contributions as well as deadlines for returning excess contributions and other important requirements. The related 2014 compliance calendar for defined contribution plans shows recurring compliance and notice requirements for qualified defined contribution plans." (Vanguard)
[Guidance Overview] Mid-Year Changes to Safe-Harbor 401(k) Plans
Posted on Nov 20, 2013 (106 days ago)
"Before this new regulation, an employer maintaining a safe-harbor plan using employer nonelective contributions could not reduce or eliminate those contributions midyear -- such a change could only be made with respect to employer matching contributions. The regulation removes the distinction between the two types of safe-harbor compliance, and allows either type of contribution to be reduced or eliminated during the year, subject to all of the same requirements." (Ford & Harrison LLP)