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Benefit Plan Compliance Alert 2021: Are You Ready?

Posted by Brian Dunfee on Dec 16, 2020 9:43:26 AM

Benefit plan compliance alert

Inherent in any successful benefits strategy is awareness and action regarding the regulatory environment surrounding your employer-sponsored plans.  Below, we have compiled a few reminders of upcoming regulatory deadlines, including new considerations related to the CARES Act enacted in March 2020.

All deadlines below assume a calendar plan year-end:

Fourth Quarter 2020:

    • CARES ACT - December 30:  Deadline for participants to initiate coronavirus-related distributions (up to $100,000) from an eligible retirement plan.
      • Allows participants to avoid 10% additional tax on early distributions.
    • CARES Act – December 31:   Loans initiated between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020 are eligible to have loan repayments deferred for up to one year.

First Quarter 2021 (and beyond):  Helpful Hints to Navigate

    • February 14: The Department of Labor’s regulations on fee disclosure include a requirement to issue certain disclosures to participants/beneficiaries by 45 days after each quarter-end for participant-directed DC plans.
      • This disclosure is required for all participants with an account balance as of the end of the quarter.
      • It is likely that your TPA handles this quarterly disclosure for you.  However, this is a good opportunity to monitor the process in place at your TPA to ensure that these disclosures are being mailed out to participants in a timely manner.

        Note: The DOL is continuing their scrutiny of compliance with these regulations and your fiduciary responsibility does not stop at assigning this task to your TPA, so be sure to maintain due diligence with this process! 
    • March 15:  If your organization is structured as an S-Corporation or a partnership, employer contributions are due to retirement plan’s trust in order for the organization to deduct on its tax return (assuming no extension of the organization’s tax return).
    • March 15: If your plan is subject to non-discrimination (ADP/ACP) testing (i.e. not safe-harbor), any refunds due to participants to bring the plan into compliance with this testing must be remitted to affected (highly-compensated) participants by this date to avoid a 10% excise tax on the employer.
      • If you have an eligible automatic contribution arrangement (EACA): the deadline is July 1 this year.
      • Tips on Discrimination Testing
        1. Work with your TPA to establish a previously agreed-upon time frame for delivery of all compliance testing results to ensure that you have enough time to resolve any issues and process any refunds due to participants by the March 15 deadline.
        2. Review census file for proper classification of HCEs vs. NHCEs.
        3. Consider changing your testing method from current year to prior year:
          • This allows you to utilize compensation and deferral data from the previous year which can help avoid waiting until the end of the current year to have the tests run which helps to minimize getting close to the March 15 deadline.
          • Using prior year data can help in establishing a limit of elective deferrals for HCEs in “real time” so as to help identify potential failures before the end of the year.
        4. Increase participation among NHCEs via automatic enrollment.
        5. Enact a safe-harbor contribution so as to avoid ADP/ACP testing altogether.
    • April 15:  If your organization is structured as an C-Corporation, employer contributions are due to retirement plan’s trust in order for the organization to deduct on its tax return (assuming no extension of the organization’s tax return).
    • April 30:  Annual Funding Notice due to participants of defined benefit (DB) pension plans.
    • Other:  If your plan offers a safe-harbor matching contribution and you plan on suspending the safe-harbor match, you must provide 30 days notice to participants ahead of the effective date of the suspension.
Keep an eye on Meaden & Moore’s blog for future employee benefit plan content important to your compliance efforts or contact us for more details.

Topics: Accounting & Auditing, Benefit Plan Advising & Auditing, Accounting and Tax Resource

Brian Dunfee

Brian Dunfee

Brian Dunfee is a Director in Meaden & Moore’s Assurance Services Group. With 19 years in public practice, Brian has extensive audit experience, especially in the field of employee benefit plan audits. He has a strong understanding of the operations and compliance of many types of employee benefit plans, which he developed through planning, preparing, and supervising those audit engagements.