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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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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

401k Plan Leakage and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

Abstract: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H. R. 1892) contains several provisions that have potential implications when it comes to 401k plan leakage. Certain provisions could increase plan leakage by making it easier to take hardship withdrawals.

Source: Ebriorg.wordpress.com, February 2018

Fiduciary Duties Would Expand Under Maryland Bills

Abstract: Legislation before the Maryland legislature would create a fiduciary duty for agents and investment advisers, as well as broker-dealers, to act "primarily for the benefit" of their clients.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, February 2018

Tax Reform's Impact on 401k Plan Loan Offset Treatment

Abstract: The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, enacted on Dec. 22, 2017, contains a few rules that will impact benefit administrators. This article focuses on retirement plan administrators' and HR benefits managers' obligations relating to plan loan offset amounts.

Source: Hklaw.com, February 2018

Tax-Reform Changes Lead Some Employers to Raise 401k Matches

Abstract: A handful of large U.S. corporations announced they are raising the employer match for their 401k retirement plans or are making other changes in their benefit plans in the first month after a tax reform law was signed by President Trump. And nearly half of companies surveyed said they are considering taking such an action this year or next.

Source: Blr.com, February 2018

Recent Tax Acts Impacting Retirement Plans

Abstract: Over the past couple of months, there have been two tax acts signed into law that contain provisions related to retirement plans. This article reviews taxs acts and their impact on retirement plans.

Source: Consultrms.com, February 2018

New Tax Law Causes Uncertainty for Some Hardship Distributions

Abstract: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act indirectly changed one of the safe harbor bases for hardship distributions. For tax years 2018-2025, the new law limits casualty loss deductions to those occurring in a federally declared disaster area. Plans that use hardship distribution safe harbors that reference this deduction should consider how they will address requests for losses that occur outside of a federally declared disaster area.

Source: Conduent.com, February 2018

GROW Act Before the U.S. House

Abstract: The Give Retirement Options to Workers (GROW) Act, H.R. 4997, is intended to safeguard the multiemployer pension plan system by authorizing the creation of a new type of retirement option that combines key features of defined benefit and defined contribution plans.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2018

Hardship Withdrawal Changes Under the New Budget Act

Abstract: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 contains changes to the ways in which hardship withdrawals from qualified retirement plans are administered. The changes reviewed here are effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2018.

Source: Consultrms.com, February 2018

Hardship Withdrawals -- An Attractive Nuisance Becomes More Attractive

Abstract: President Trump has signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 into law, avoiding another federal government shutdown. That law includes provisions that make hardship withdrawals more attractive: removing barriers, increasing available monies, and removing the suspension of contributions.

Source: Psca.org, February 2018

Hardship Withdrawal Changes Included in Budget Deal

Abstract: The bill calls for the Secretary of Treasury to amend regulations to delete the six-month prohibition on contributions to a retirement plan following a hardship withdrawal. The allowance of hardship withdrawals is also extended in the bill to contributions to a profit sharing or stock bonus plan, qualified non-elective contributions (QNECs) and qualified matching contributions (QMACs) and earnings on the contributions now allowed.

Source: Planadviser.com, February 2018

Retirement Provisions Included in Federal Budget Deal

Abstract: The two-year budget agreement that Congress passed in the early morning hours of Friday, Feb. 9 includes several tax policy changes affecting retirement plans.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2018

Tax Reform and a Retirement Plan Surprise

Abstract: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed at year end contained relatively few retirement plan-related provisions. However, upon closer review of the more than 1,000-page bill, some of the provisions were found to indirectly affect retirement.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, January 2018

TCJA Changes Could Affect 401k Hardship Withdrawals

Abstract: In the wake of any new tax law, there are always issues that cause problems when they are actually put into practice. One such issue is that hardship withdrawals from a 401k plan to address a personal casualty loss of a principal residence may no longer be allowed unless the loss is attributable to a federally declared disaster area.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2018

RETIRE Act Promotes Electronic Delivery of Retirement Plan Information

Abstract: A year-end bill could significantly change how retirement plans deliver participant and beneficiary communications. The Receiving Electronic Statements To Improve Retiree Earnings (RETIRE) Act would allow plan administrators to use electronic delivery as the default delivery method for virtually any required plan document. Participants and beneficiaries could still opt to receive paper copies of this information.

Source: Ascensus.com, January 2018

Pending Legislation Could Significantly Change the Retirement Plan Landscape

Abstract: a number of bills have been introduced in recent weeks that, in addition to simplifying some of the rules, could encourage employers to set up plans and help increase employees' retirement savings. Many of these changes have been proposed in the past and enjoy bipartisan support. This article is a brief summary of some of the recently introduced bills.

Source: Jpmorgan.com, January 2018

What Does Tax Reform Portend?

Abstract: The debate over tax reform roiled Washington, and the retirement plan community was among the many parties concerned about the outcome. A recent white paper discusses the new law and its possible effects, including those on retirement plans.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2018

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Will Present Retirement Professionals With New Challenges

Abstract: While the primary focus of the Act is on the personal and corporate income tax rates, and the law does not uproot pension and benefits arrangements as radically as past legislation, the new rules will present employers, employees, and tax and benefits professionals with potentially difficult decisions in the areas of retirement planning, employee benefits management, executive compensation, and payroll administration.

Source: Wolterskluwer.com, January 2018

Tax Reform: Retirement Plan and IRA Provisions

Abstract: This summary of the tax bill focuses on the rather limited changes made to pension benefits and IRAs. The changes, and next steps for plan sponsors and IRA providers, are summarized.

Source: Groom.com, January 2018

New Jersey Legislation Would Require Non-Fiduciary Disclosures

Abstract: Legislation is before the New Jersey legislature that would require certain disclosures by non-fiduciary investment advisors regarding their fiduciary status with clients.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2018

Legislation to Promote Retirement Plan Lifetime Income Options Introduced

Abstract: Reps. Tim Walberg and Lisa Rochester have introduced the Increasing Access to Secure Retirement Act (H.R. 4604), which is legislation intended to clarify and simplify rules under which retirement plan sponsors may offer certain lifetime income investments to their plans' participants.

Source: Ascensus.com, January 2018

The Impact of Tax Reform on Qualified Plans and Fringe Benefits

Abstract: The Act makes changes to the rules governing qualified plans (such as 401k plans and pension plans) and fringe benefit plans. These changes generally apply to plan years beginning after December 31, 2017. This is a review of those changes.

Source: Drinkerbiddle.com, January 2018

Bill Would Provide New Safe Harbor for Annuity Provider Selection

Abstract: The bipartisan bill clarifies and strengthens existing rules to make it easier for retirement plan sponsors to provide guaranteed lifetime income products as part of their employee benefits. It intends to amend ERISA and lays out specific criteria for selecting an annuity benefit provider.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2018

New Tax Law Provides Additional Breathing Room for Repayment of Retirement Plan Loans

Abstract: One option a terminated employee had with an outstanding plan loan was to "rollover" an offset by contributing to the amount of the unpaid loan balance to an IRA with 60 days of leaving. Effective for tax years beginning in 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act extends the rollover deadline from 60 days to the due date of the employee's tax return including extensions.

Source: Retirementplanblog.com, January 2018

Tax Reform Prompts Visa to Raise 401k Match for Employees

Abstract: Visa said on Monday it will strengthen contributions to employees' 401k savings plans, as a result of the recently passed GOP tax reform.

Source: Cnbc.com, January 2018

Tax Law's Pass-Through Provision Could Harm 401k Plans

Abstract: The new tax law's provision on pass-through businesses is proving to be one of the most challenging to dissect, and it's one that some retirement pundits are eyeing with concern. Some industry groups say the pass-through rules could become the most impactful part of the law for 401k plans.

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

Nationwide Spurred by Tax Law to Give Bonuses, Bump 401k Match

Abstract: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. will pay $1,000 bonuses to about 29,000 employees and increase matching 401k contributions for all its associates. The move is a response to the new tax law enacted by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in December, a Nationwide spokesman told Bloomberg Law.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), January 2018

Lesser-Known Tax Reform Provisions That May Affect Retirement Plan Sponsors

Abstract: President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While there are few provisions that directly affect retirement plans, there are a few lesser-known provisions of the new law that may indirectly affect retirement plan sponsors.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, January 2018

Details From the Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act

Abstract: Alongside numerous proposed changes, employees who work for three consecutive years with at least 500 hours of service each year would have to be made eligible to participate in an employer's plan, but would be excluded from top-heavy and nondiscrimination testing.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2018

Bill Proposes Enhancements to Auto Enrollment, RMD, and Other Retirement Plan Rules

Abstract: Representative Richard Neal has introduced the Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act of 2017. The legislation would significantly modify current rules for individual retirement arrangements and employer-sponsored retirement plans. The bill aims to expand retirement plan coverage, preserve retirement income, and simplify retirement plan rules.

Source: Ascensus.com, December 2017

The New Tax Bill Is Enacted: What Does This Mean for Retirement Plans?

Abstract: The bill makes very few benefits changes directly, although the change in the tax structure contained in the bill may affect retirement plan formation and maintenance. Here is an initial take on the new law's effect on retirement plans.

Source: Ferenczylaw.com, December 2017

Tax reform: Retirement Plan Changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Abstract: While many retirement plan changes had been included in the separate bills passed by the House and the Senate, only a few survived the committee of House and Senate members that was convened to hammer out the differences between the two versions of the bill. The Act makes significant changes to both individual and corporate taxation, it only makes modest changes to retirement plans. Here is a brief summary.

Source: Jpmorgan.com, December 2017

Tax Reform: IRAs, Qualified Plans, 529s, and Other Savings Arrangements Impacted

Abstract: The Bill will affect retirement and other tax-advantaged savings arrangements and, in some cases, will become effective as soon as it is signed. Highlights of the changes made to savings arrangements and their effective dates are described here.

Source: Ascensus.com, December 2017

Breaking Down Retirement Provisions in the Tax Reform Bill

Abstract: The retirement industry "dodged a lot of bullets" in terms of what could have been included in the GOP tax reform bill that would have negatively impacted retirement savings. But just because Rothification of workplace retirement plans didn't happen and the reform bill didn't include changes to non-qualified deferred compensation doesn't mean that those topics won't resurface in the future when it comes time to pay for other things Congress wants.

Source: Benefitnews.com, December 2017

Trump Tax Bill Terrific for 401ks: Opinion

Abstract: After all the hemming and hawing, gnashing and wailing, the tax bill (apparently) is set to pass. Not only does it preserve pretty much everything good about tax-advantaged retirement accounts, it's favorable in other, admittedly roundabout, ways.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Increase Plan Access and Lifetime Income

Abstract: U.S. House Representatives Ron Kind and Dave Reichert introduced The Small Businesses Add Value for Employees (SAVE) Act of 2017, H.R. 4637. In addition to expanding access to MEPs, the bill would facilitate lifetime income disclosure and clarify the current annuity selection safe harbor.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

Legislation Permitting E-Delivery of Plan Information Introduced

Abstract: Bipartisan legislation that would allow for electronic delivery of pension and retirement plan information was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives Dec 11.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2017

Automatic Retirement Plan Act Proposes Mandatory Retirement Plans

Abstract: Rep. Richard Neal recently introduced the Automatic Retirement Plan Act of 2017. ARPA would require many employers to maintain an automatic contribution plan. In addition, ARPA would enhance employers' ability to participate in multiple employer plans, limit formation of new state-sponsored automatic-enrollment IRA programs, and propose certain other miscellaneous retirement plan provisions.

Source: Ascensus.com, December 2017

ARA: Tax Reform Proposal Threatens Small Business Workers' Retirement

Abstract: Tax reform proposals working there way through Congress could have a dramatic impact on the retirement security of small businesses and millions of small business workers, according to an analysis by the American Retirement Association.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2017

Senate Passage of Tax Bill Signals Benefit Changes, but Which Ones?

Abstract: Now that the U.S. Senate has approved its comprehensive tax reform bill, the measure must be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives. Each measure handles the health care individual mandate, education benefits and other deductions differently. This article reviews the workplace provisions in both the House and Senate bills and some of the key differences.

Source: Shrm.org, December 2017

House Bill Seeks Expansion of Open MEPs, Aggressive Plan Designs

Abstract: A bill introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal, known as the "Automatic Retirement Plan Act of 2017," is garnering the support of retirement plan industry lobbying groups. Among other adjustments viewed as vital to the expansion of open multiple employer plans, the bill would remove the "one bad apple" rule and the commonality requirement.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2017

Morningstar Recommends Policies to Increase Small Employer Retirement Plans

Abstract: In its latest policy paper, Morningstar suggests workers at large U.S. companies are served relatively well by the U.S. retirement system. However, half of employees at small companies don't have access to a retirement plan at all. The paper notes that two policy proposals have attempted to rectify the issues plaguing the retirement system, but both proposals raise the risk of increasing fragmentation in the DC retirement plan system.

Source: Plansponsor.com, November 2017

House Bill Would Bump Up Cashout Limit

Abstract: Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would boost the cashout limit for retirement plans, which its sponsors say will help make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2017

Tax Reform and Retirement: What Plan Sponsors Need to Know

Abstract: Tax reform, and its impact on retirement plans, has weighed heavily on the minds of many plan sponsors since the new administration took office. Article looks at what has happened thus far, how the proposed changes could affect retirement plans, and what plan sponsors can expect moving forward.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, November 2017

Tax Reform and Employee Benefits

Abstract: Proposed employee benefits changes in the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" will make a significant imprint for many companies if they remain in the bills as they work through the legislative process. This article provides the highlights of the House Bill, as passed, compared to the current version of the Senate proposal.

Source: Seyfarth.com, November 2017

Tax Reform Legislation Moves Through the House and Senate

Abstract: The House and Senate Bills would provide for the most sweeping changes to the U.S. Tax Code since 1986. Both bills also contain several provisions that would change the tax rules with respect to retirement plans, executive and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements, employee fringe benefits, and health and welfare plans. This is a side-by-side summary comparing the retirement, executive compensation, fringe benefit and health and welfare provisions in the House and Senate bills.

Source: Groom.com, November 2017

Senate Tax Reform Bill Seeks Different Reforms to Retirement Plans

Abstract: The Senate bill does not include any reductions to the most frequently referenced annual contribution limit, but the does impact catch-up contributions.

Source: Qualifiedplanadvisors.com, November 2017

Hearing Set for EBSA Nominee

Abstract: The Senate Health, Education Labor & Pensions Committee will hold a hearing next week on several nominations, including a new potential Assistant Secretary of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Source: Napa-net.org, November 2017

House Bill Proposes Major Modifications to Employee Compensation and Benefits-Related Laws

Abstract: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act proposed by the US House of Representatives on November 2nd proposes major modifications to employee and partner compensation and benefits-related provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. This article highlights of the House Bill's and the Brady Amendments' compensation and benefit provisions.

Source: Kattenlaw.com, November 2017

Senate Tax Reform Proposal Caps Catch-Ups

Abstract: The Senate tax reform proposal throws a few unexpected curves, bringing back problems for deferred compensation plans, introducing some new problems for 403b and 457 plans and capping catch-up contributions.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2017

Paper Recommends Policy Changes to Address America's Retirement Challenge

Abstract: Mercer released this whitepaper outlining policy recommendations aimed at addressing and resolving America's retirement security challenge. As Congress considers retirement issues as part of tax reform, the paper offers guidance on how to develop a coherent public policy strategy that helps citizens adequately prepare for retirement given longer life expectancies and lack of financial knowledge.

Source: Mercer.com, November 2017

Tax Reform Proposal Would Impact Savings Arrangements

Abstract: The House Ways and Means Committee's GOP leadership introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Although the legislative process is still ongoing, the following is a summary of the more significant provisions from the initial proposal that could become law and affect tax-favored savings arrangements.

Source: Ascensus.com, November 2017

Proposed Tax Bill Includes Language to Expand MEPs - Dramatically

Abstract: The current requirement for Open MEP's that include filing individual Form 5500's, requiring individual plan audits for those adopters whose size makes such an audit a requirement, and the need for an individual ERISA Bond will disappear under the new law if it is enacted.

Source: Linkedin.com, November 2017

Tax Reform Contemplates Changes to Employee Benefits

Abstract: The House Committee on Ways and Means publicly released a working draft of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In the weeks leading up to the release of the draft, speculation has swirled as to whether it would eliminate or otherwise limit the ability to make pre-tax employee deferrals into 401k plans. The current draft of the bill would not impact 401k deferrals, but would bring other changes to employee benefit plans and programs beginning in 2018, as described in this article.

Source: Erisapracticecenter.com, November 2017

Tax Reform Bill Contains (Other) Retirement Plan Changes

Abstract: While much of the focus has been on the potential "Rothification" of 401k plans, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included a number of other retirement plan-related provisions, including changes that impact hardship withdrawals and loans.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2017

Tax Reform Update -- A (Mostly) Good First Step

Abstract: House Republican leaders on Nov. 2 released their much-anticipated tax reform plan that left 401ks and IRAs alone, but contained a number of proposals to modify various pension and retirement savings provisions.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2017

Initial House Tax Reform Bill Proposes Limited Changes to Retirement and Savings Arrangements

Abstract: While it is understood that the version of tax reform released by the House Ways and Means Committee this week could change both in House deliberations and in a conference committee process with the Senate, it is worth taking note that the bill would not propose limiting the availability of pretax retirement savings contributions.

Source: Ascensus.com, November 2017

Marcia Wagner's 10-Minute Take on Trump Tax Plan

Abstract: "There are no adjustments to 401k plans," Wagner, principal of The Wagner Law Group, told advisors in the audience in a rapid-fire recap at the start of a regulatory-focused session. "We have somehow avoided Rothification," although she noted it doesn't mean that the final version of the bill will not include some form of Rothification.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, November 2017

Massachusetts Bill Sets Sights on a State-Run Open MEP

Abstract: The Massachusetts legislature's Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight considered a bill that would set up a state-run multiple employer plan for private employers. The bill, Senate Bill 1701, requires the treasurer and receiver general of the state to sponsor a qualified defined contribution plan, which would then be available to private-sector employers to adopt for their own employees.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, October 2017

Why Congress's Plan to Slash 401k Limits Was Never a Good Idea

Abstract: Personal finance and retirement-planning experts expressed concern that this would lead to a reduction in America's already anemic retirement savings rate. What's more, there's a bigger problem with the GOP's math, some experts say.

Source: Nbcnews.com, October 2017

The Impact of a Proposed Pre-Tax Contribution Cap

Abstract: The non-partisan Employee Benefit Research Institute using their Retirement Security Projection Model® found that more than half of current 401k contributors would be impacted by a $2,400 contribution Roth, based on 2015 data. And, as you might expect, the impact reaches down to some very moderate income levels.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Legislative Fixes Would Make MEPs More Attractive Option

Abstract: Previous regulatory actions by the Department of Labor have made open multiple employer plans a less attractive option for employers, but legislative fixes proposed by Congress could significantly improve the overall appeal of MEPs.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Shift to Roth 401ks 'Highly Likely' Part of Tax Reform

Abstract: Optimism from past weeks regarding the fate of 401k tax benefits under tax reform is beginning to wane, with some signaling that employees would have to pay taxes upfront on at least a portion of their retirement savings.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), October 2017

Enhanced Saver's Credit Would Improve Retirement Security

Abstract: A series of structural and administrative changes to the Saver's Credit would make the program less complex and more likely to achieve its intended goal of encouraging low- and moderate-income workers to save for retirement, according to a new report.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Fiduciary Rule Kill Bill Clears Hurdle

Abstract: The House Financial Services Committee gave its stamp of approval to the latest attempt to block the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule. The committee passed the Protecting Advice for Small Savers (PASS) Act Of 2017, moving it a step closer to a full vote.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, October 2017

Congress Adds Plan Distribution Tax Relief for Recent Disasters

Abstract: The Act includes relief from the 10% premature distribution penalty for withdrawals from retirement savings and provides expanded loan availability to qualified plan participants. It also offers withholding exceptions, delayed taxation, and extended repayment options to ease the financial bite of tapping retirement savings for hurricane recovery.

Source: Conduent.com, October 2017

Hurricane Legislation Grants Retirement Plan Relief

Abstract: Under the provisions of the new law, "qualified hurricane distributions" from IRAs, qualified retirement plans, 403b plans, and governmental 457b plans are entitled to special tax treatment, as well as repayment options if the recipient so chooses. There are also provisions that apply specifically to loans from employer plans.

Source: Ascensus.com, October 2017

Some Small Business 401ks Could Vanish Under Tax Plan "Glitch"

Abstract: Under the proposed tax plan, retirement plan contributions from pass-through small-business owners would be deductible against the 25 percent tax rate, but could be taxed at the individual rate of 35 percent when the 401k funds are withdrawn.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), October 2017

Think Tax Reform Won't Impact Retirement Plans, Think Again

Abstract: If you had a choice between paying a 25% tax on your income or a 35% tax on your income, which would you choose? That's the choice small business owners could be asked to make under the new tax reform just unveiled by Congress and the White House that includes a 25% "pass-through" cap on tax rates for small business. But without a fix, the new rate could cause thousands of small businesses to terminate their retirement plans.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Industry Leaders: Build on Existing Framework to Address "Challenges"

Abstract: Retirement industry leaders appearing at a recent Capitol Hill event generally agreed that building on the existing system would dramatically improve the retirement readiness of Americans throughout the country.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

No 401k Promises in GOP Tax Reform Framework

Abstract: Republicans rolled out their framework for tax overhaul with a passing mention of encouraging retirement savings. They didn't specifically address possible 401(k) changes, but that doesn't mean change isn't coming.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), September 2017

SEC Chairman Hopes to "Properly Tailor" Approach to Fiduciary Issues

Abstract: Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton hopes that his agency can "properly tailor" an approach that will best address issues related to those the DOL's fiduciary rule concerns. Clayton made his remark during his Sept. 26 testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2017

Tax Reform Proposal Could Undermine Incentives for Small Business Plans

Abstract: More than 90% of businesses are organized as "pass-through" entities. More than 320,000 of these entities sponsor a retirement plan. Unfortunately, many of these businesses may reconsider adopting or maintaining a qualified retirement plan because of significant financial disincentives woven into the fabric of the tax reform proposal.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2017

What's Cooking in Congress for Retirement Plans?

Abstract: This article takes a deeper dive into what has been cooking in Congress for retirement plans over the past few months.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, September 2017

Warren Ups War of Words in 401k Fiduciary Fight

Abstract: Elizabeth Warren fired off yet another letter last week, this time to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, urging the latter to implement the fiduciary rule post haste. She cited comments made by financial services companies during earnings calls to bolster her case, noting "that they are prepared to comply with the rule in its current form and that many believe it to be in the best interests of their customers."

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, September 2017

Tax Cut Proposals Have Advisers Worried About All-Roth 401ks

Abstract: With President Trump touting potential corporate and individual tax rate cuts, retirement plan sponsors and advisers are worried that could lead to the government switching 401k plans to all-Roth in order to raise revenue to offset the cuts. Advisers say the elimination of tax incentives to save would deter participation and lower savings rates.

Source: Planadviser.com, August 2017

These Five Retirement Issues Brought Out the Lobbyists

Abstract: Five hot-button issues in retirement policy were at the forefront of lobbying efforts in the second quarter of 2017, Bloomberg Government data show. They were the fiduciary rule, multiemployer reform, retirement issues relevant to tax reform, repeal of state retirement plans, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), August 2017

New Jersey Considers 403(b) Disclosure Bill

Abstract: A bill that would require new disclosures in New Jersey, A5151, has been filed by Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, the Deputy Republican Leader of the Democrat-controlled Assembly.

Source: Napa-net.org, August 2017

Regulatory Burdens Threatening Retirement Plans

Abstract: The ERISA Industry Committee submitted comments to the Department of Treasury outlining ways to reduce regulatory burdens for retirement plans. "It is imperative that regulations do not create uncertainty or introduce new risks that can drive plan sponsors further away from offering important and meaningful retirement benefits."

Source: Eric.org, August 2017

Senators Urge DOL to Issue Guidance on Auto Portability

Abstract: To help prevent retirement plan cashout leakage when workers change jobs, Sen. Tim Scott and 10 other Senators sent a letter to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta asking the DOL to issue guidance clarifying the application of ERISA to auto portability features, that is, ones that help facilitate the movement of a participant's retirement account from one employer to another.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

Rep. Wagner Drafts Bill to Kill DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: House lawmakers plan to convene a hearing to discuss the impact of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule on the capital markets. The hearing will focus on a draft bill put forth by Rep. Ann Wagner that seeks to kill the fiduciary rule and instead impose a best interest standard on broker-dealers' investment recommendations.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com (registration may be required), July 2017

Puerto Rico Law Modifies Retirement Plan Rules

Abstract: The recent changes to the Puerto Rico Trust Act and Internal Revenue Code are focused on the economic security and future of professionals in Puerto Rico. By providing broader, more flexible options and reducing administrative burdens, the Puerto Rico government hopes to encourage small businesses to offer retirement plans and increase participation in existing retirement plans. The new law includes adjusted contribution and employer deduction limits, a revised definition of highly compensated employee, and a new safe harbor rule.

Source: Prudential.com, June 2017

Video: Tax Reform and Its Potential Impact on Retirement Programs

Abstract: Elizabeth (Beth) Bell, Tax Counsel at U.S. Senate, Senator Benjamin Cardin's Office, discusses the ongoing, bi-partisan interest in tax reform and what it could mean for retirement programs.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, June 2017

Survey: Potential Impact of Tax Reform on Employees' Retirement Savings

Abstract: The Plan Sponsor Council of America released the results of a new snapshot survey to gather insights on the impact of possible changes to tax preferences for retirement savings plans.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, June 2017

Nevada Imposes Statutory Fiduciary Duty on Broker-Dealers

Abstract: A new fiduciary duty will become applicable July 1, 2017, for broker-dealers and investment advisers operating in Nevada, and this fiduciary duty has nothing to do with the Department of Labor.

Source: Greensfelder.com, June 2017

House Republicans Pass "Choice" Act, Block Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: One of the most sweeping financial regulations in recent history took a step closer to destruction on Thursday, as the House of Representatives voted almost along party lines to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act. Part of the legislative package included a block of the DOL's fiduciary rule set for implementation on Friday.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, June 2017

Bill Would Repeal Fiduciary Rule, Part of Dodd-Frank

Abstract: A bill repealing some of the major provisions of Dodd-Frank and the DOL's fiduciary rule will move to the House floor for a vote this week, something that did not happen in previous sessions for similar legislation. That said, even if the House passes it, its chances in the Senate are bleak.

Source: Asppa.org, June 2017

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