Pension & Benefits NetNews – February 6, 2018

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Featured This Week

Employee Benefits Management News

  • Congress moves to delay three ACA taxes
  • Two-thirds of employers expect to offer fertility benefits by 2019
  • Tax law fueling changes to employer benefits and compensation programs, survey finds
  • Employees’ mistaken acknowledgment of independent contractor status precludes ERISA and COBRA claims

Pension Plan Guide News

  • PBGC final regs increase civil penalties for failure to provide certain notices for 2018
  • IRS issues revised covered compensation tables for 2018
  • IRS issues revised procedures for relating to technical advice

Employee Benefits Management News

Congress moves to delay three ACA taxes

The Senate voted on January 22 to delay three Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes: the medical device excise tax; the health insurance provider fee; and the excise tax on high-dollar health plans. The House followed suit and approved the measure, sending it to President Trump for his signature. For more information, see ¶2112T.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Two-thirds of employers expect to offer fertility benefits by 2019

The percentage of employers offering fertility benefits to employees is expected to grow from 55 percent in 2017 to 66 percent by 2019, according to the 2017 Maternity, Family and Fertility Benefits Survey from Willis Towers Watson. For more information, see ¶2112W.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Tax law fueling changes to employer benefits and compensation programs, survey finds

The new tax reform law is fueling changes to corporate America’s employee benefits, compensation, total rewards and executive pay programs, according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson. For more information, see ¶2112X.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Employees’ mistaken acknowledgment of independent contractor status precludes ERISA and COBRA claims

ERISA and COBRA claims brought by employees against Superior Healthplan, Inc., and Centene Corporation were dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, based on an agreement the employees had signed that acknowledged they were independent contractors, not common law employees. The employees were allowed to proceed with claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), however. For more information see ¶2113B.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

Pension Plan Guide News

PBGC final regs increase civil penalties for failure to provide certain notices for 2018

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has issued final regulations that adjust the civil monetary penalties provided in ERISA Secs. 4071 and 4302 for inflation. The maximum daily penalty for failing to provide notices or other material information under ERISA Sec. 4071 has increased from $2,097 to $2,140, and the maximum penalty for failure to provide certain multiemployer plan notices under ERISA Sec. 4302 has risen from $279 to $285. The final regulations are effective January 12, 2018, and the increases apply to penalties assessed after January 12, 2018. The PBGC notes that, although the maximum penalties are increasing, it is uncommon for the PBGC to assess information penalties. The PBGC’s goal is to encourage compliance, not to penalize plans that inadvertently forget to file information. Generally, when the PBGC does assess an information penalty, the amount is significantly less than the maximum allowed. For more information, see ¶155h.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues revised covered compensation tables for 2018

The IRS has released tables for determining employees’ covered compensation for the year 2018 that have been revised to reflect a change made to the 2018 taxable wage base by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In October 2017, the SSA announced that the taxable wage base would be $128,700 for 2018, and based on that amount, the IRS issued the 2018 covered compensation tables in Rev. Rul. 2017-22. In November 2017, the SSA announced that an adjustment had been made to the taxable maximum amount for 2018. The $128,700 amount was reduced to $128,400. The IRS has now issued revised 2018 covered compensation tables that apply in lieu of the tables in Rev. Rul. 2017-22. Rev. Rul. 2017-22 is modified and superseded. For more information, see ¶19948z440.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

IRS issues revised procedures for relating to technical advice

The IRS has issued its annual update of the general procedures relating to the issuance of technical advice to a director or an appeals area director by the various offices of the Associate Chief Counsel. The procedures also explain the rights a taxpayer has when a field office requests technical advice. A technical advice memorandum (TAM) is normally requested when there is a lack of uniformity regarding the disposition of an issue or when an issue is unusual or complex enough to warrant consideration by an Associate office. No significant changes were made to these procedures for 2018. The updated procedures are effective January 2, 2018. For more information, see ¶17299v62.

        (Read Intelliconnect) »

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