Navigating Pension and Annuity Payments: General Rule and Taxation Guidelines
(Posted on December 18, 2017 by )

Employers and those involved in administering retirement plans often do not understand the rules for navigating distributions from such plan. For example, how do the rules for when an employee can take a distribution interrelate with the rules for when an employee is subject to tax penalties on a distribution? Can an employee take a distribution of nontaxable amounts from a plan without also taking amounts subject to tax? How is a distribution initiated by the employer to solve a discrimination issue taxed? Who is taxed, and in what amount, if a distribution is made pursuant to a domestic relations order? What are the tax consequences if a loan is not repaid when due? What is the difference between a rollover of a distribution and a plan-to-plan transfer? For an employee who has a hardship, is it better to take a hardship distribution or a plan loan? Under what circumstances is withholding required, and in what amount? How are distributions reported to an employee? How does the employee report a distribution on his or her income tax return? This live webinar helps those responsible for retirement plans master both withholding and income tax aspects of a wide variety of distribution situations.

The PowerPoint presentation for the webinar is below.

IRS Issues Self-Assessment Forms for Federal, State, and Local Government Employers
(Posted on July 10, 2017 by )

Internal Revenue ServiceThe IRS has now issued a series of forms to enable federal, state, and local governments to assess their compliance with federal tax statutes, and has set forth some common errors found in examining such employers. Several of the forms relate to employee benefits issues, and may be of assistance to governments trying to ensure that they comply with all legal requirements.

The forms are as follows:

For use by Federal, State and Local Government Entities

For use by State and Local Government Entities Only

Read more.

IRS determination letters after 2016; what are the options?
(Posted on July 28, 2015 by )

Internal Revenue ServiceAs previously discussed, faced with substantial budget cuts, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has announced that it is eliminating most determination letters (letters concerning the qualified status of retirement plans, which gives rise to numerous tax benefits), effective December 31, 2016. (Announcement 2015-19.) In the past, individually designed retirement plans were able to obtain a determination letter once every five years, during a cycle provided by the IRS. The most likely new regime will involve making determination letters on individually designed plans available only when a plan is first adopted, or when it is terminated. Between those dates, the only way to ensure qualification other than filing a declaratory judgment action with the Tax Court is likely to be to adopt annual updates put out by the IRS that will include model wording for amendments.

For entities that maintain a retirement plan, the new regime may mean that they discover qualification issues only on audit, when it is too late to fix the issue. And the potential penalties on audit (for the employer, the trust under the plan, and the employees) are, as set forth in a prior article, huge. What steps should a plan administrator take to ensure the qualification of a plan after that point? Read more.

Governmental Plan Determination Letters: Last Chance?
(Posted on July 21, 2015 by )

irsOn July 21, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued Announcement 2015-19, in which it announced that it would be making substantial changes to the determination letter program intended to allow retirement plan sponsors to ensure that their plans are qualified (eligible for tax benefits). This announcement will affect all retirement plans intended to be qualified, but will create particular issues for plans maintained by governmental employers (“governmental plans”). Read more.

State Taxes for Married Same-Sex Couples
(Posted on June 26, 2015 by )

gay_marriageIn light of the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, employers that maintain plans covering employees in same-sex marriages who live in any of the states that previously did not recognize same-sex marriage will have to adjust state tax withholding and reporting for such employees. State Taxes and Married Same-Sex Couples Before Obergefell provides a handy chart for determining which states are affected.

State Taxes and Married Same-Sex Couples Before Obergefell
(Posted on June 26, 2015 by )

Update: On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges that all states must recognize same-sex marriages. This means that employers must adjust state tax reporting and withholding for all employees in same-sex marriages who live in states that did not previously recognize their marriages. The discussion below, written before the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, shows which states fall into that category. Read more.