Social Security Tax Rates Return to Higher Levels for 2013
(Posted on January 1, 2013 by )


After two years in which Social Security tax rates for employees (though not for employers) were reduced, rates returned to normal levels for 2013. Read more

New Article: Same-Sex Marriage: Thinking About Employee Benefits
(Posted on December 28, 2012 by )


Final Regulations Govern FICA Taxation of 403(b) Contributions
(Posted on November 19, 2007 by )


Final Regulations Issued Under Code Section 403(b)
(Posted on September 4, 2007 by )


The IRS explanation states as follows: Read more

Distributions from a Pension Plan Under a Phased Retirement Program
(Posted on June 11, 2007 by )


The IRS has issued a copy of its long-awaited final regulations on the extent to which a pension plan can make distributions to an individual in the process of a phased retirement. A copy of the regulations can be seen by clicking here.

Final IRS Regulations Clarify Maximum Limits for Governmental Qualified Plans
(Posted on April 5, 2007 by )


On April 5, 2007, the IRS proposed new regulations under section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), as amended. Section 415 limits the benefits that may be paid by defined benefit plans and contributions that may be made to defined contribution plans. While some of the provisions may be a restatement of the current rules or a codification of guidance issued over the years since the current regulations were adopted, other provisions may represent new interpretations that need to be studied carefully. Read more

Post-death qualified domestic relations order invalidated
(Posted on January 9, 2006 by )


The recent case of Sanzo v. NYSA-ILA Pension Trust Fund illustrates the perils of a badly drafted qualified domestic relations order (“QDRO”). Although directly applicable only to QDROs of ERISA-covered plans, the principles underlying it would also apply to governmental and church plans that allow for the recognition of domestic relations orders. Read more

Let’s kill all the lawyers?
(Posted on September 23, 2005 by )


Why did Shakespeare say, “Let’s kill all the lawyers”? And what is the relevance for employee benefits law? Read more

Future Cost-of-Living Increases Included in 415(b) Calculation
(Posted on January 4, 2005 by )


Private Letter Ruling 200452039 discussed the situation of a plan that provided a 3% cost-of-living adjustment to the benefits of each retired participant each year, beginning on the January 1 following the third anniversary of the participant’s retirement date. The private letter ruling held, in effect, that a participant whose annual benefit beginning in 2005 was equal to the dollar limit for 2005 ($170,000 per year), but whose benefit was subject to a cost of living increase starting in January 2009, would be in violation of the limit. Read more

New Mandatory Rollover Rules Will Apply to Government, Church Plans
(Posted on December 29, 2004 by )


Section 657 of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (“EGTRRA”) amended Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) section 401(a)(31) to provide that a distribution from an “eligible plan” of more than $1,000 had to be directly rolled over to an individual retirement account unless a participant affirmatively elected another form of distribution (e.g., to receive the amount in cash). The term “eligible plan” was defined as follows:

a plan which provides that any nonforfeitable accrued benefit for which the present value (as determined under section 411(a)(11)) does not exceed $5,000 shall be immediately distributed to the participant.

The effective date of the provision was tied to the issuance of regulations by the Department of Labor. Thus, the question arose as to whether a plan that was not subject to either Department of Labor regulations or section 411 (a governmental plan or a nonelecting church plan) would be subject to the EGTRRA change. Read more