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New Rules on Deferrals From Post-Severance Compensation

In April, the IRS issued final regulations under Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”). These regulations finalize rules proposed in May of 2005 and represent the first comprehensive overhaul of the Section 415 rules since 1981. For sponsors of defined contribution plans, one of the most newsworthy of the many changes is a revamping of the rules governing deferrals from compensation an employee receives after terminating employment.

“Good Reason” to Read Final 409A Regulations

The final Section 409A regulations address a concern raised by many employers and their advisors after reading the proposed regulations: the uncertainty concerning the effect of provisions in employment agreements, severance plans, and the like entitling an executive to receive deferred compensation on a voluntary resignation for “good reason.”

THE FIDUCIARY CORNER: Identifying Fiduciaries – The Ministerial Function Exception

Not everyone who has a role in the administration of an ERISA plan is a “fiduciary” under the Act’s special definition of that term. Even those who process claims and calculate benefits may be excluded from this category, so long as they do so within a framework of policies and procedures made by others. And not being a fiduciary is significant, because those on the outside of the fiduciary circle are not subject to the special obligations and personal liability that attaches to those on the inside.

THE FIDUCIARY CORNER: Fiduciary Liability for Delinquent Contributions

Failing to make required contributions to a multiemployer benefit plan can become a matter of fiduciary liability in some circumstances. And according to a federal court in Connecticut, that liability attaches personally to company executives who control the corporate checkbook. (Trustees of Connecticut Pipe Trades Local 777 Health Fund v. Nettleton Mechanical Contractors, Inc. (March 15, 2007)). 

Save Envelopes to Save a Bundle on COBRA

A recent case in Pennsylvania illustrates the importance of understanding and documenting when COBRA premium payments are made.

IRS Finalizes Section 409A Regulations

As we go to press, the IRS has just issued final regulations under Section 409A of the Tax Code.

Wal-Mart Hit with Class-Action Over 401(k) Plan

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have filed a purported class-action lawsuit class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart and the fiduciaries of its 401(k) retirement plan.

IRS Addresses Taxability of Contributions of Unused Leave to Retiree Health Benefit Plans

Two recent private letter rulings issued by the Internal Revenue Service address the taxability of contributions of accrued sick and vacation leave to a health reimbursement account (“HRA”), to be used to pay for medical expenses after retirement. In the first PLR, the IRS ruled that employees’ elective contributions to a post-retirement medical expense plan would be taxable.

NLRB To Hear Oral Arguments on E-Mail Use by Employees

For the first time in more than six years, the National Labor Relations Board will hear oral arguments on a case pending before it.

Top Five Things you Should Know to Help Plan for and Reduce the Costs of Electronic Discovery

With the recent changes in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure implemented, electronic discovery is affecting more and more companies. The new rules make it easier for parties to request electronic documents and data. Companies can take a few proactive steps now to plan for and reduce the burden and costs of responding to electronic discovery.

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