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Have you updated your Summary Plan Descriptions lately?

A summary plan description, or SPD, is the document that is given to participants and beneficiaries explaining the material terms of an ERISA plan.  Both pension plans and welfare plans are required to provide SPDs to participants.  An SPD generally must be provided when a participant first becomes covered by a plan.  It also must […]


Complying with the Windsor Decision: Mid-Year Amendment for Safe-Harbor 401(k) Plans

Previously, the IRS issued guidance on what employers need to do in order to comply with the United States v. Windsor decision. The guidance insturcts employers on how and when to amend a qualified retirement plan if its current terms regarding marriage and the definition of spouse are inconsistent with Windsor.  In short, the employer must adopt an […]

Former Associate

Amendments Required by End of Year to Reflect Windsor Same-Sex Marriage Case

I gave a presentation last week at the Western Pension & Benefits Conference Phoenix Chapter Spring Conference entitled “Ding Dong DOMA’s Dead – The Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling and Its Impact on Employee Benefit Plans.”  Upon finishing my presentation, I realized my last few slides are a good checklist. On April 4th, the IRS […]


IRS Issues Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage for Retirement Plans

Today, the IRS issued Notice 2014-19, which contains long awaited guidance on the application of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor.  The Windsor case found section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.  Sponsors of qualified retirement plans have been awaiting this guidance to determine how to apply the Windsor […]

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Plan Fiduciaries Get an Assist from the DOL

Since 2012, covered service providers (“CSPs”) such as recordkeepers and investment advisors have had to provide annual service and fee disclosures to plan fiduciaries under Section 408(b)(2) of ERISA.  Plan fiduciaries cannot remain idle after receiving these disclosures —  review of the disclosures is a fiduciary duty.  The Department of Labor (“DOL”) requires fiduciaries to […]

Former Associate

Employers Need More Same-Sex Marriage Guidance

Last summer, the Supreme Court determined that the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) was unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor had the effect of extending many employee benefits to same-sex spouses.  Employee benefit plans were significantly impacted by the ruling, and, as a result, the IRS and the Department of Labor […]

Former Associate

IRS Issues Relief for Certain “Closed” Defined Benefit Plans

In Notice 2014-5, the IRS provided temporary relief from the Code’s nondiscrimination rules for certain defined benefit plans that are closed to new participants.  (This is sometimes referred to as a “soft freeze.”). The temporary relief allows employers who sponsor a closed defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan to comply with Code’s nondiscrimination […]


IRS Announces 2014 Retirement Plan Limits

On October 31, 2013, the IRS announced the cost-of-living adjustments that will affect the dollar limitations for pension and other retirement plans for the 2014 tax year.  Notably, the $17,500 annual contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k) plans remains the same for 2014. Maximum   Qualified Retirement Plan Dollar Limits 2013 2014 Limit […]

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