Pension & Benefits NetNews – October 8, 2019

 

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Featured This Week

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

  • Employees dread open enrollment, would rather talk about their weight than benefits, MetLife survey finds
  • 2020 per diem rates issued for travel expense reimbursements
  • Proposed regulations provide affordability safe harbors for individual coverage HRAs
  • Average family premiums now top $20,000: KFF

Pension Plan Guide News

 

  • IRS issues final regs on hardship distributions from 401(k) plans
  • IRS proposed regs update information reporting requirements for exempt organizations
  • IRS grants tax relief to victims of severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, and flooding in Mississippi

 

Employee Benefits Management News

 

Employees dread open enrollment, would rather talk about their weight than benefits, MetLife survey finds

One-third of American workers would rather talk about their weight than their employee benefits, and nearly half dread the benefits enrollment process as much as asking for a raise, according to a recent MetLife survey. In fact, U.S. workers say they dread the open enrollment process only marginally less than renewing their driver’s license or passport. For more information, see ¶2127P.

        (Read Cheetah) »

2020 per diem rates issued for travel expense reimbursements

The IRS has provided the 2019-2020 special per diem rates for taxpayers to use to substantiate ordinary and necessary business expenses incurred while traveling away from home. The guidance provides the special transportation industry meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) rates, the rate for the incidental expenses only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method. For more information, see ¶2128

        (Read Cheetah) »

Proposed regulations provide affordability safe harbors for individual coverage HRAs

The IRS has issued proposed regulations that clarify the application of the employer shared responsibility provisions and certain nondiscrimination rules to health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and other account-based group health plans integrated with individual health insurance coverage or Medicare (individual coverage HRAs). The regulations also provide certain safe harbors with respect to the application of those provisions to individual coverage HRAs. For more information, see ¶2128E.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Average family premiums now top $20,000: KFF

Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 5 percent to average $20,576 this year, according to the 2019 benchmark KFF Employer Health Benefits Survey. Workers’ wages rose 3.4 percent and inflation rose 2 percent over the same period. On average, workers this year are contributing $6,015 toward the cost of family coverage, with employers paying the rest. For more information see ¶2128F.

        (Read Cheetah) »

Pension Plan Guide News

 

IRS issues final regs on hardship distributions from 401(k) plans

The IRS has extended for an additional year the temporary relief provided in IRS Notice 2014-5 for certain closed definThe IRS has issued final regulations that amend the rules relating to hardship distributions from Code Sec. 401(k) plans. The final regulations are substantially similar to the proposed regulations. Plans that complied with the proposed regulations satisfy the final regulations as well, according to the IRS. The regulations are effective on September 23, 2019. The final regulations reflect changes in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123), the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97), and the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-280). The IRS has also finalized changes to reflect legislation concerning distributions for individuals serving in the armed services.

The final regulations modify the safe harbor list of expenses for which distributions are deemed to be made on account of an immediate and heavy financial need by: (1) adding “primary beneficiary under the plan” as an individual for whom qualifying medical, educational, and funeral expenses may be incurred; (2) modifying the expense listed in existing IRS Reg. §1.401(k)-1(d)(3)(ii)(B)(6) (relating to damage to a principal residence that would qualify for a casualty deduction under Code Sec. 165) to provide that for this purpose the deduction limitations in Code Sec. 165(h)(5) do not apply; and (3) adding a new type of expense to the list, relating to expenses in connection with damage incurred in federally declared disaster areas. For more information, see ¶167L

        (Read Cheetah) »

IRS proposed regs update information reporting requirements for exempt organizations

The IRS has released proposed regulations that update the information reporting regulations under Code Sec. 6033, generally applicable to organizations exempt from tax under Code Sec. 501(a), to reflect statutory amendments and certain grants of reporting relief announced through guidance that was issued after the current regulations were adopted, particularly with respect to tax-exempt organizations required to file an annual Form 990 or 990-EZ information returns. Among the updates, the proposed amendments would incorporate into the regulations the existing exception from having to file an annual return for certain organizations that normally have gross receipts of $50,000 or less.

The regulations are proposed to be effective when they are adopted as final regulations in the Federal Register. Although the proposed regulations are not effective until final regulations are published in the Federal Register, under Code Sec. 7805(b)(7), a tax-exempt organization may choose to apply the final regulations to returns filed after September 6, 2019. For more information, see ¶20265a.

        (Read Cheetah) »

IRS grants tax relief to victims of severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, and flooding in Mississippi

The IRS has announced tax relief for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the federal disaster areas of Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo Counties in Mississippi, which were affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, and flooding that took place from February 22, 2019 to March 29, 2019. The relief extends until July 31, 2019 deadlines for filing various returns, including the filing of Form 5500s, and paying taxes otherwise due during the period of February 22, 2019 and before July 31, 2019. For more information, see ¶167m.

        (Read Cheetah) »

 

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