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COLLECTED WISDOM™ on Legislative Items Impacting Retirement Plans

A directory and index of articles that review what is happening in Congress and Washington DC.

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Retirement Savings Plan Provisions on Capitol Hill

Abstract: Among the many year-end bills that are circulating in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are a number that include fixes for Individual Retirement Accounts and 401k-type retirement savings plans. Some of the fixes are found in several bills; others are in just one of the bills.

Source: Pensionrights.org, December 2018

Lame Duck Retirement Package Draws Fire

Abstract: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady unveiled a nearly 300-page legislative package November 26 that combines a wide array of tax provisions with bipartisan retirement savings reforms. In general, the legislation is divided into two parts — the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018 and the Taxpayer First Act of 2018. When the House was preparing to bring the legislation up for debate on Nov. 28, Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richie Neal, who will replace Brady as chairman of that committee for the 116th Congress, expressed opposition to it.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2018

Everything to Know About Retirement Plan Provisions in Latest Tax Bill

Abstract: On November 26, 2018, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady introduced a substantial tax package consisting of two main divisions: The Taxpayer First Act of 2018, and the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018. Retirement plan items in the tax packages are reviewed.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2018

Congress Tries to Jam Through Retirement Legislation by Year-End

Abstract: Congress is making one final push to get retirement legislation passed by the end of the year, with provisions promoting more 401k plan formation and greater use of annuities hanging in the balance.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), November 2018

House Introduces Major Tax, Retirement Savings Legislation

Abstract: Lame duck legislative action produced a 300-page package designed to positively impact Americans' retirement savings and business tax breaks, while revamping the IRS.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, November 2018

Bill Would Resurrect myRAs, Replace Saver's Credit With Government Match

Abstract: Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden and four other senators have introduced the Encouraging Americans to Save Act (EASA). A similar bill with the same title was introduced by Senator Wyden in 2016, but did not reach the floor for a vote. The 2018 version of EASA contains the same provisions as the 2016 version, with a few minor changes.

Source: Ascensus.com, November 2018

Legislation Introduced With Changes to Retirement Savings Tax Credit

Abstract: Legislation to change the current non-refundable saver's credit into a refundable, government matching contribution for more workers to contribute to 401k plans or IRAs was introduced Thursday by Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden and four other senators.

Source: Pionline.com, November 2018

Top Five Post-Election Retirement Policy Observations

Abstract: The historic 2018 mid-term elections are in the rearview mirror, and Democrats are poised to take control of the House in January while Republicans will expand their majority in the Senate. The new political landscape fundamentally changes the retirement policy dynamic in Washington and there is a very real possibility of significant reforms over the next two years. There are five key issues to keep in mind.

Source: Groom.com, November 2018

Taxpayers Generally Comply With Annual Contribution Limits for 401k Plans; Additional Efforts Could Further Improve Compliance

Abstract: Analysis of IRS records showed that the vast majority of taxpayers are complying with tax laws designed to limit the annual amount of compensation that can be contributed to 401k retirement plans. Nonetheless, two areas in which compliance could be improved were identified: 1) some 401k plans did not prevent taxpayers from exceeding the annual limit, and 2) some taxpayers exceed annual limits when contributing to multiple 401k plans.

Source: Oversight.gov, November 2018

Retirement Plan Participants Reap Some Benefit From Tax Reform

Abstract: After a long period of relative stability enjoyed by sponsors of qualified retirement plans, several significant modifications have been made by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, following closely on the heels of changes enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, particularly as affecting hardship withdrawal from 401k plans.

Source: Foxrothschild.com, October 2018

We on the Verge of the Next Big Pension Bill?

Abstract: The Family Savings Act, which is one of three tax bills clearing the House as part of the Republicans' push for "Tax Reform 2.0," contains a series of proposals designed to enhance Americans’ retirement security and increase other savings. Some of the proposals contained in the Family Savings Act are new, but many have been taken from previously introduced legislation, most substantially, from the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act.

Source: Bna.com, October 2018

DOL Seeks to Expand Access to Open MEPs, or "Association Retirement Plans"

Abstract: The DOL has published a set of proposed regulations under Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations to expand access to retirement saving options by clarifying the circumstances under which an employer group, association, or professional employer organization may sponsor a workplace retirement plan. These plans allow small businesses to join together to offer defined contribution retirement savings benefits.

Source: Planadviser.com, October 2018

DOL Proposes Expanded Access to MEPs

Abstract: The Department of Labor has released proposed rules that would expand access to multiple employer retirement plans for small employers and self-employed workers, while also maintaining fiduciary oversight.

Source: Napa-net.org, October 2018

DOL Releases Proposed Rules on MEPs

Abstract: The proposed rule would make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement savings plans to their workers through Association Retirement Plans, which would allow small businesses to band together to offer 401k plans to their employees.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, October 2018

OMB Finishes Review of DOL Proposal to Establish Open MEPs

Abstract: The text of the regulation is still forthcoming, but the Office of Management and Budget has completed its review; so far, we know the regulation is viewed as "major" and "economically significant."

Source: Planadviser.com, October 2018

House Flip Could Fuel Focus on Retirement Policy

Abstract: Rep. Richie Neal, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways & Means Committee, and the man in line to become chairman of that powerful committee, has cited three priorities on which he even thinks he might align with President Trump, and two of them -- shoring up retirement savings and protecting multi-employer pension plans -- deal with retirement, according to a report in The Hill.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2018

Possible Retirement Savings Legislation in Lame Duck Session

Abstract: This article begins by briefly discussing the changes made to the FSA when it passed the House and the political outlook for retirement policy legislation before the end of the year. It provides an inventory of some of the key retirement policy proposals that may be included in any year-end 2018 retirement policy legislation.

Source: Octoberthree.com, October 2018

Ready for a Government-Run 401k?

Abstract: Legislation has been introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives that would create a parallel government-run retirement savings program, and one that could undermine the 401k, particularly for small business owners.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2018

Retirement and Beyond: Congress Considers Changes to the Way Americans Save

Abstract: It's increasingly possible that Congress could approve substantive retirement reform in the coming weeks. The House of Representatives passed the Family Savings Act of 2018 (FSA) on September 28 as part of a broader push that some are calling Tax Reform 2.0. While the FSA contains many provisions that are also in the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA), which was first introduced in the Senate in 2016 and reintroduced in March 2018, it also contains some new provisions.

Source: Alliancebernstein.com, October 2018

Portable Retirement and Investment Account Act Introduced

Abstract: Congressman Jim Himes introduced the Personal Retirement and Investment Account (PRIA) Act. The current retirement savings system is not working for most Americans. It is too reliant on employers and leaves too many people behind. Most accounts are employer-sponsored, but not every business offers a plan and more often than not, part time and contract employees are not eligible for these accounts.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, October 2018

Lifetime Income Safe Harbor Now in Tax Reform 2.0 Mix

Abstract: With the House of Representatives poised to take up the second round of tax reform, a couple of changes have been made to the retirement section of the legislation. On Sept. 25, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) offered a "manager's amendment" to the Family Savings Act (H.R. 6757) to incorporate a safe harbor for the selection of a lifetime income provider within a defined contribution plan.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2018

Retirement Component of Tax Reform 2.0 Moves to Senate

Abstract: The House of Representatives approved legislation Sept. 27 that seeks to make it easier for businesses to offer retirement plans and for individuals to save for retirement. The Family Savings Act (H.R. 6757) now moves to the Senate, which may take up similar legislation in a lame duck session following the congressional midterm elections.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2018

"Women's Pension Protect Act" Seeks DB-Like Protections for DC Plans

Abstract: Senator Patty Murray says her bill would be a strong first step toward addressing some of the key hurdles facing women as they save for retirement in defined contribution plans; there are also proposed protections for part time workers and lower income individuals.

Source: Planadviser.com, September 2018

Ways & Means Moves on MEPs, PEPs and Other Retirement Savings Provisions

Abstract: Following a day-long and occasionally contentious markup session, the House Ways & Means Committee approved on party-line votes three tax bills as part of the Tax Reform 2.0 push, one of which focuses on retirement savings.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, September 2018

Tax Reform 2.0 Adds to Momentum for Open MEPs

Abstract: The House of Representatives is building on recent momentum to enact a popular retirement-security measure seeking to make it easier for small businesses to offer workplace savings plans. Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced a trio of bills known as Tax Reform 2.0, which partly aims to make permanent rate reductions for individuals and small businesses codified in last year's tax-reform law. The Family Savings Act of 2018, one of the three bills, eases rules around open multiple-employer plans, or open MEPs.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), September 2018

Six Retirement Changes to Watch in House's Tax 2.0 Plan

Abstract: Retirement savings is a centerpiece of House Republicans' bid to make last year's tax cuts permanent with changes that would benefit new parents, older retirees, and IRA contributors with less than $50,000 in their nest egg.

Source: Bna.com, September 2018

Executive Order Seeks to Reduce Retirement Plan Burdens and Costs

Abstract: On August 31, 2018, President Trump issued an Executive Order on "Strengthening Retirement Security in America." The Executive Order is intended to set the policy for the DOL and the IRS in three areas outlined here.

Source: Ktserisacorner.com, September 2018

Why President Trump's Executive Order on MEPs May Not Improve Access to Retirement Plans

Abstract: This article discusses what multiple employer retirement plans are and their current challenges, how President Trump's recent executive order would change MEPs and at least potentially improve retirement plan access for employees of small businesses, and why these proposed changes might ultimately have some concerning unintended consequences.

Source: Kitces.com, September 2018

Will the Administration's Executive Order Work?

Abstract: Over the coming weeks, a question that you're likely to see posed (again and again) about the President's Executive Order is, "will it work?" "Work" in this case means to expand access to workplace retirement plans, for that is the stated policy of the Trump administration in issuing the order.

Source: Napa-net.org, September 2018

Trump Executive Order on Retirement

Abstract: President Trump signed an Executive Order on retirement policy. The Executive Order directs the DOL and the Treasury Department to consider regulations or guidance expanding the availability of multiple employer retirement plans, loosening the required minimum distribution rules that apply to individuals over age 70 1/2, and improving notice requirements to reduce the paperwork and administrative burdens for plan sponsors. The agencies have a considerable amount of flexibility in implementing the Executive Order, and we expect them to move quickly to develop proposed rules and other guidance.

Source: Groom.com, September 2018

Trump Signs Executive Order to Boost Retirement Savings

Abstract: President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order aimed at boosting retirement savings by giving Americans more time to keep their money in tax-deferred accounts and allowing small businesses to band together to offer 401ks. Trump described the order as a "very bold action to lower the costs of retirement plans so that they can become an affordable option for businesses of all sizes."

Source: Politico.com, September 2018

House GOP Expected to Push Changes to 401ks This Fall

Abstract: Although it's uncertain exactly what will be proposed, House GOP lawmakers will use existing legislation -- which has bipartisan support -- as a starting point. In that bill, proposals include making it easier for companies to include annuities in their investment options and for small businesses to pool their resources to offer 401ks to their workers.

Source: Cnbc.com, September 2018

Trump Order Seeks to Ease Retirement Account Rules for Required Withdrawals

Abstract: The purpose of reviewing rules related to required minimum distributions from 401k plans and IRAs would be to update the calculations used to determine those mandated amounts so retirees can stretch out their savings. The president's order also would ask regulators to consider making it easier for small companies to team up to offer 401k plans to employees.

Source: Cnbc.com, September 2018

Trump Is Strengthening Retirement Security for American Workers

Abstract: President Trump has issued an executive order to strengthen retirement security in America. The order benefits small-business employees seeking easier ways to achieve greater retirement savings. This is a statement from the Whitehouse.

Source: Whitehouse.gov, August 2018

Trump Executive Order Aims to Make Retirement Plans Easier for Small Businesses to Offer

Abstract: President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday to make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans that may also let Americans keep more retirement savings sheltered from taxes.

Source: Usatoday.com, August 2018

401k Chances for Pre-Election Tax Reform Looking Dimmer

Abstract: There is a great deal of uncertainty as to what, if anything, might make it into law between now and the midterms. At this point it would be a surprised if anything were to happen on the 401k front yet this term.

Source: Compliancedashboard.net, August 2018

"Multiple" Choices: All MEPs Not Created Equal

Abstract: If passed, under the Small Business Employees Retirement Enhancement Act, employers that have 100 or fewer employees who earned at least $5,000 during the preceding year and that participate in a pooled employer plan registered with the Labor Department would not be considered a fiduciary to that plan, including with respect to the selection and monitoring of any plan service provider or any investment under the plan. For the first time since the passage of ERISA in 1974, the employer would basically have no fiduciary role.

Source: Asppa.org, August 2018

Will Congress Enact Retirement Legislation This Year?

Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests that chances are slim that retirement policy legislation will be enacted in the remaining days of the legislative calendar going into the mid-term elections, but this year might be different.

Source: Asppa.org, August 2018

IRS Ruling Allows Rollover From Deceased Spouse -- Failure to Designate a Beneficiary

Abstract: Under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules, a distribution from an eligible retirement plan of a deceased employee made to a designated beneficiary may be treated as an eligible rollover. A non-designated beneficiary, generally, cannot get the benefits of a rollover. However, in a Private Letter Ruling (PLR), the IRS resolved an account holder's failure to properly designate a beneficiary by allowing the surviving spouse to rollover the funds to her own IRA.

Source: Bsllp.com, July 2018

More Proposed 401k Plan Changes in the Works -- Keep Your Antennas On

Abstract: Both the current House and Senate versions of RESA, which reportedly enjoy bipartisan support, would amend ERISA to allow companies to jointly offer what are called "multiple employer retirement plans," or MEPs. This idea has been around for some time, but has never managed to gather much traction.

Source: Compliancedashboard.net, July 2018

401k: Winds of Change are Blowin' Around Washington

Abstract: Word out of Washington is that Congress may be posed to pass legislation that would make the most sweeping changes to retirement plans, including 401k plans, in over a decade.

Source: Compliancedashboard.net, July 2018

Here's Why DC's Latest Plan to Fix Retirement Crisis Is Probably Already Doomed

Abstract: Lawmakers in both chambers are trying to build momentum for a variety of legislative fixes that would make it easier for workers to save in tax-preferred retirement accounts, and perhaps build up their short-term savings, which are also depressingly meager. Despite creating an alphabet soup of tax preferences for retirement savings, a crisis yet exists.

Source: Bankrate.com, July 2018

Peering Through the Regulatory Kaleidoscope

Abstract: Attend any retirement industry conference held in 2018 and it will almost certainly include presentations on the topic of evolving and conflicting regulation. One question that comes up repeatedly is: "What is the real source of the almost comical amount of regulatory uncertainty impacting retirement plans, and how can plan sponsors or even their skilled advisers be expected to keep up with the myriad twists and turns?" The article explores the question.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2018

Legislation Boosting SIMPLE Plans for Small Businesses Introduced

Abstract: A bipartisan bill that its sponsors say will provide greater flexibility and access to small business employees and their employers seeking to utilize SIMPLE plans as an option for saving for retirement has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Source: Napa-net.org, July 2018

Retirement Savings Lost and Found Act Reintroduced in Congress

Abstract: Previously introduced in 2016, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Steve Daines have reintroduced legislation aimed at addressing the retirement plan missing participant problem.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2018

Ways & Means Responds on Rothification Rumors

Abstract: Rumors notwithstanding, the House Ways & Means Committee tells the American Retirement Association, the committee has no plans to revisit Rothification as part of the new tax reform discussions.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2018

Push to Require Roth 401k Savings Over Traditional Plans May Re-Emerge

Abstract: Retirement plan advisers who thought Washington had ditched the idea of requiring Roth 401k savings instead of traditional 401ks should think again. Those who closely follow retirement policy say senior legislators on Capitol Hill are again whispering about so-called Rothification. The idea could re-emerge, perhaps to make up for tax-revenue shortfalls related to other retirement legislation being floated, observers said.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), June 2018

Could Small Plans Duck Fiduciary Responsibility?

Abstract: There's a bill currently in Congress that would essentially remove fiduciary responsibility for small plan sponsors, and perhaps the need for retirement plan advisors. The bill (H.R. 4523, which is also known as the Automatic Retirement Plan Act of 2017) was introduced by Rep. Richie Neal last December.

Source: Napa-net.org, June 2018

Video: Retirement Policy and Where Washington Is Focused

Abstract: Doug Fisher, Washington Strategy and Advocacy, sits down with Emily Wrightson to discuss the current state of legislative affairs as it pertains to retirement plans, including the proposed Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, May 2018

Hearing Witnesses Urge Passage of Proposed Retirement Plan Legislation

Abstract: The hearing focused on four bipartisan proposals, and hearing witnesses expressed their support for these proposals, while some also urged legislators to move forward on the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2018 (RESA).

Source: Plansponsor.com, May 2018

House Subcommittee Seeks ERISA Changes

Abstract: House Subcommittee seeks bipartisan proposals to update ERISA including encouraging defined contribution plans to provide annuities, eliminating the "common nexus" requirement for private multiple employer plans and other changes.

Source: Benefitsforward.com, May 2018

Bill Would Create Commission to Advise Congress on Retirement Issues

Abstract: The bill's purpose is to create a commission that would study Americans' retirement security, including private retirement programs, and make recommendations to Congress on how to improve it. The Commission would be expected to complete a review and report to Congress not later than two years after the Commission is established.

Source: Ascensus.com, May 2018

The Drought Is Over: Recent Legislation Affecting Retirement Plans

Abstract: New legislation provides several significant modifications affecting retirement plans, effectively eliminating the legislative drought experienced in recent years.

Source: Truckerhuss.com, May 2018

Budget Act Brings Much Needed Hardship Relief for Plan Participants

Abstract: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 brings important relief for plan sponsors and recordkeepers for tax-qualified retirement plans. This relief includes (1) relaxed hardship withdrawal rules, (2) expanded rollover for improper federal tax levies, (3) California wildfire relief for plan distributions, and (4) a special Congressional committee to address the major funding concerns for multiemployer plans.

Source: Groom.com, April 2018

What 401k RESA Legislation Means for MEPs and PEPs

Abstract: By now the retirement industry recognizes that MEPs will play an expanded role in the future of the U.S. retirement system. The question for most retirement specialists is what to do about it. A stand-alone pension bill that re-introduces the concept of a PEP (Pooled Employer Plan) surfaced in the Senate recently. A study of PEPs -- currently the most likely-to-pass legislative advancement of open MEPs -- is a good place to start.

Source: Pentegra.com, March 2018

Major MEP 401k Bill Reintroduced in Senate

Abstract: Outgoing Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and Ranking Member Ron Wyden introduced an updated version of the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA), a bill they say will improve access to retirement savings.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2018

Congressman Neal's Automatic Retirement Plan Proposal

Abstract: This article we discuss Congressman Neal's Automatic Retirement Plan Act of 2017, which would (with some very limited exceptions) require every US employer to maintain an "automatic contribution" retirement plan. The bill would also create a framework for "open" multiple employer plans.

Source: Octoberthree.com, March 2018

Bill Would Help Establish Database for Orphaned 401k Accounts

Abstract: Two senators are trying to help workers locate retirement savings they may have forgotten when they switched jobs. On Thursday, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Steve Daines introduced the Retirement Savings Lost and Found Act, which would establish a national database of orphaned retirement accounts.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), March 2018


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