News and Updates from the FuturePlan Team

COVID-19 Response

Message from Jerry Bramlett, President of FuturePlan

On behalf of all of us at FuturePlan, we extend our wishes for a full recovery to those directly affected by COVID-19, and our deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the medical professionals, first responders, and essential workers who are saving lives and sustaining our communities. Our highest priority at FuturePlan is the safety and wellbeing of our people, clients, and partners.

Message from David Musto, CEO of Ascensus

Staying Strong Together in These Uncertain Times.

It’s safe to say that the environment in which we’re living and coping today is unlike any most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Worry for our own health and that of our loved ones, challenges to the operation of virtually every type of business, social distancing, travel restrictions, and startling global financial market volatility sometimes feel beyond our ability to process.

Our COVID-19 Response

At FuturePlan, we consider the safety and wellbeing of our clients and associates to be paramount. Our service and leadership teams have been closely monitoring the global spread of COVID-19 and have been making proactive adjustments to our operations in order to ensure the continued service and expertise you count on.

  

  

Contribution Allocation Options

Flexible plan designs with varying contribution allocations can help business owners manage costs and tax efficiency, since they can be set aside in lean years.

Qualified Birth and Adoption Distribution (QBAD)

FuturePlan provides an overview of this new SECURE Act provision with questions pending IRS guidance.

SECURE Act and Potential Tax Credits: What You Need to Know

Discusses two tax credits available to some small employers through the SECURE Act.

CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Outlines program details, eligibility, and loan terms.

Guide to Coronavirus-Related Distributions, RMDs and Loans

FuturePlan provides an overview of Coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs), along with expanded RMD and loan options based on the CARES Act.

COVID-19 and Safe Harbor Plan Changes

Helpful guide and key timing considerations for plan sponsors needing to amend safe harbor contributions.

Understanding Changes to Matching Contributions

Resources and FAQ to help plan sponsors reduce or suspend matching contributions in response to business disruption.

Options for Paying Expenses from Plan Assets

FuturePlan reviews a range of options for paying retirement plan-related fees from plan assets and reduce expenses during the downturn.

Covid-19 Impact on Cash Balance and Defined Benefit Plans

An overview of legislative changes and plan design options for plan sponsors of Cash Balance and other defined benefit plans.

Market Adjustment Impact on Balance Forward Plans

Understanding the special considerations required to manage balance forward plans during market fluctuations.

  

  

Resources

FuturePlan Supports Small Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. With these businesses and their workers bearing the brunt of the hardship associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s incumbent on the financial services industry to do whatever we can to support them.

Pandemic Preparedness and Response Statement

As a business division of Ascensus, FuturePlan has maintained a Pandemic Preparedness plan since day one. It is one component of our larger Business Continuity planning process.

  

  

External Resources

  

  

Regulatory Updates

The DOL’s New Proposal to Regulate Investment Advice

Few aspects of retirement plan governance have been as controversial as regulating investment advice. Exactly what obligation—if any—does an investment professional have to provide impartial, conflict-free advice to savers and retirees? When do financial professionals step over the boundary that can make them a fiduciary, with the ethical and legal obligations that come with this duty?

DOL Investment Advice Guidance Published in Federal Register

Today’s Federal Register contains the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) proposed guidance announced by the agency on June 29, 2020, entitled Improving Investment Advice for Workers and Retirees Exemption.

Limited Relief for Plans Reducing Safe Harbor Contributions Mid-Year

The IRS has issued Notice 2020-52, guidance that provides sponsors of 401(k) and 403(b) safe harbor plans limited relief from certain otherwise-applicable requirements for mid-year suspension or reduction of safe harbor matching or nonelective contributions.

DOL Issues Investment Advice Guidance to Replace 2016 Regulations

The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has released a guidance package entitled Improving Investment Advice for Workers and Retirees Exemption. The guidance package includes a News Release, Fact Sheet, Proposed Class Exemption, and a Technical Amendment.

Senate Passes Bill to Extend PPP Loan Application Deadline

On Tuesday, the United States Senate passed by unanimous consent a bill to extend from June 30, 2020, to August 8, 2020, the deadline for businesses to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan administered by the federal Small Business Administration.

IRS Issues More Guidance on 2020 RMD Waiver

In issuing Notice 2020-51 on June 23, 2020, the IRS provided much-needed additional guidance—and some welcome relief—pertaining to the 2020 suspension of required minimum distributions (RMDs). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, suspended for the 2020 tax year the requirement that these distributions be taken from employer-sponsored defined contribution retirement plans and IRAs.

More Details on CARES Act Eligibility and Plan Loan Guidance

The retirement industry eagerly received the IRS guidance on applying provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with the issuance of Notice 2020-50 on June 19. It has provided important details on compliance with this legislation—which offers financial and tax relief to millions of Americans affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IRS Issues More Guidance on Waived 2020 Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

The IRS has issued Notice 2020-51, providing additional guidance on the 2020 suspension of RMDs that generally must be taken annually by IRA owners, retirement plan participants, and beneficiaries. 

Senate, House Bills Would Allow Additional PPP Loans

Companion bills have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to provide additional capital to small businesses hardest hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program (P4) Act is sponsored in the Senate by Democrats Chris Coons (DE), Ben Cardin (MD), and Jean Shaheen (NH), and in the House by Democrats Angie Craig (MN), and Antonio Delgado (NY).

IRS Issues More CARES Act Eligibility and Plan Loan Guidance

The IRS has issued Notice 2020-50, providing additional guidance on several aspects of the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, legislation enacted in March of this year in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

DOL Seeks Comments for Future PEP/MEP Guidance

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has released a pre-publication version of a request-for-information (RFI) seeking public comments on issues pertinent to pooled employer plans (PEPs) and multiple employer plan (MEPs).

Paycheck Protection Program Revised Interim Final Rule Issued

Scheduled for publication in next Tuesday’s Federal Register is a Small Business Administration (SBA) interim final rule on the agency’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This guidance is being issued in response to enactment on June 5 of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, legislation that made enhancements to this SBA loan program intended to help small employers meet payroll and other expenses as they deal with the economic effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

President Signs Paycheck Protection Program Extension Legislation

President Trump signed into law Friday, June 5, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, legislation that the Senate approved Wednesday night. The legislation extends elements of and makes certain other adjustments to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This Small Business Administration lending program was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to help small employers meet payroll and other expenses as businesses and the nation deal with the economic effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Passes Paycheck Protection Program Extension, Legislation Awaits President’s Signature

On Wednesday night, the U.S. Senate approved by voice vote H.R. 7010, the House-passed Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020. The legislation extends elements of and makes certain other adjustments to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This Small Business Administration lending program was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, to help small employers meet payroll and other expenses as businesses and the nation deal with the economic effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today issued Notice 2020-42, in which the IRS provides temporary relief from the physical presence requirements for certain elections that are made by participants and beneficiaries in qualified retirement plans and other tax-favored retirement arrangements. This includes signatures of those making an election that ordinarily would need to be witnessed in the physical presence of a plan representative or notary public, including spousal consent and certain forms of distribution from retirement plans.

DOL Addresses Private Equity as a Plan Investment

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) today released an Information Letter addressing the issue of including private equity investments—which are not publicly traded securities—among investment options available in certain individual account (401(k)-type) defined contribution (DC) plans.

Washington Pulse: More Options for Delivering Retirement Plan Disclosures

Nearly seven months after releasing proposed regulations, the Department of Labor (DOL) has released final regulations on default electronic delivery of retirement plan disclosures.

IRS Provides Welcome Deadline Relief for Savings Arrangement Reporting, Limited Additional Extensions

On May 28, 2020, the IRS issued limited additional relief that extends deadlines for certain time-sensitive actions related to tax-advantaged savings arrangements. Most awaited was an extension for providing information returns for IRAs, health savings accounts (HSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (MSAs), and Coverdell education savings accounts (ESAs).

House Passes Bill to Expand Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. House of Representatives passed by a 417-1 margin on Thursday, May 28, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020. This legislation would modify certain core terms of this Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency lending program.

Final eDelivery Regulations for Retirement Plan Disclosures Are Published

Published in today’s Federal Register are final regulations issued by the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) that provide an additional safe harbor for ERISA retirement plans to deliver DOL-required disclosures by electronic means. A pre-publication version was released by EBSA on May 21. (The regulations’ preamble notes that the agency has chosen not to extend the guidance to welfare benefit plans at this time.)

Proposed Regulations Are Published on Withholding from Retirement Payments

The House of Representatives late Friday passed H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, providing additional aid to many who are adversely affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The bill also contained non-COVID-19-related provisions considered likely to prove controversial in the Senate.

Industry Welcomes Final Regulations for Default Electronic Delivery of Retirement Plan Disclosures

Scheduled for publication in the May 27th Federal Register are final regulations on default electronic delivery of retirement plan disclosures. These final regulations, issued by the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), provide an additional safe harbor that may enhance the ability of plan administrators and their service providers to deliver DOL-required disclosures to participants and beneficiaries of ERISA plans by electronic means.

Final Regulations for Default Electronic Delivery of Retirement Plan Disclosures

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued a pre-publication version of highly-anticipated final regulations on default electronic delivery of retirement plan disclosures. These regulations become effective 60 days following their publication in the Federal Register, currently scheduled for Wednesday, May 27.

House Passes Next Coronavirus Relief Bill

The House of Representatives late Friday passed H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, providing additional aid to many who are adversely affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The bill also contained non-COVID-19-related provisions considered likely to prove controversial in the Senate.

Washington Pulse: New COVID-19 Relief for Employee Welfare Benefit Plans

During the last few months, the Department of Labor (DOL), Treasury Department, and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have jointly issued multiple pieces of guidance intended to provide much needed relief to those suffering economic hardships from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In this article, we’ll explain how the most recent relief affects employee welfare benefit plans.

Next Coronavirus Relief Bill Introduced

In an atmosphere more partisan than earlier coronavirus relief efforts, the Democratic caucus of the House of Representatives has released a bill to fund another round of assistance as the nation attempts to cope with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This legislation, as yet unnumbered, is being referred to as the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act.

AICPA Delays Required Implementation of New Reporting Standards

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has issued Statement of Auditing Standards (SAS) Number 141, which provides for a delay in effective dates for several SAS’s, including SAS 136, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA.

The IRS has issued news release OR-2020-01, announcing an extension of time to complete certain time-sensitive tax-related acts as a result of storms, flooding, mudslides, and landslides in Oregon. At this time, the only area to which the relief applies is Umatilla County, as well as the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Under this guidance, certain tax-related acts with deadlines falling on or after February 5, 2020, and before April 1, 2020, are extended through July 15, 2020.

IRS Q&As Provide Details on Implementing CARES Act Provisions

The IRS’ posting earlier this week of new question-and-answer (Q&A) guidance on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, was welcomed by those who administer retirement savings arrangements. The guidance provides some additional details on the IRA and retirement plan relief provided by the CARES Act.

The IRS has issued guidance in question-and-answer (Q&A) format on the special IRA and retirement plan relief granted in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, legislation signed into law on March 27, 2020. This relief is intended to aid those affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has impacted the health and economic welfare—or both—of many Americans.

The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), has issued several information and guidance items to provide administrative and operational relief to ERISA-governed retirement and health benefit plans as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Among the guidance items is a final rule jointly issued with the Department of the Treasury and the IRS.

New Bill Would Triple Retirement Plan Contribution Limits for 2020

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has introduced the Securing Additional Value for Every Retirement Saver (SAVERS) Act, legislation that would permit increased annual contributions to tax-qualified retirement savings arrangements for 2020.

President Trump Signs Bill to Replenish Paycheck Protection Program

Following passage by an overwhelming margin in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday, President Trump today signed into law the Paycheck Protection and Healthcare Enhancement Act, infusing $320 billion in additional funding into the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Bill Passed by Senate Would Replenish Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed the Paycheck Protection and Healthcare Enhancement Act, legislation that would provide $320 billion in additional funding to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This lending program is intended to help small employers retain employees on their payrolls during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting economic emergency. The legislation would also provide funding for hospitals dealing with the immediate effects of the pandemic, and, specifically, for enhanced COVID-19 testing.

E-Delivery Regulations Closer to Being Released

Much-awaited Department of Labor (DOL) final regulations on electronic delivery of retirement plan disclosures have made their way to the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), generally the final stop on their way to official issue. (Only if the OMB finds objections to guidance is it returned to the issuing agency for revision.)

On April 10, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-23. This guidance—citing IRS Revenue Procedure 2018-58—identified a number of time-sensitive tax-related actions whose completion can be delayed to July 15, 2020, as a result of disruptions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

SBA Confirms Eligible Employee Benefits for Payroll Protection Program

Scheduled to be published in the Federal Register is an interim final rule issued by the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), guidance that includes frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) on Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans available to small businesses to help them maintain their workforce during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the agency that insures benefits in certain single-employer defined benefit pension plans, has posted an announcement describing deadline relief being provided as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IRS Provides Guidance for Employers to Claim Tax Credits for Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Expanded FMLA Payments

The IRS has posted at its website much-anticipated guidance for claiming tax credits for amounts paid by employers under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Expanded Leave Act (Expanded FMLA), as provided in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The guidance contains 66 FAQs that cover all aspects of the tax credits.

CARES Act Update

With virtually every part of the U.S. economy facing unexpected financial challenges from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Congress has passed the largest relief package in U.S. history. Signed into law on March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is designed to assist the millions of Americans affected by the outbreak. The legislation has multiple provisions that affect retirement and health savings.

House Passes Senate’s Coronavirus Response Bill Unchanged, President Trump Signs Into Law

The House of Representatives today passed—by an expedited procedure—the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was passed by the Senate late on Wednesday, March 25. This afternoon, President Trump signed the legislation into law.

Senate Approves Massive Coronavirus Response Bill, with Significant Retirement Savings and Health Elements

On Wednesday night, shortly before midnight, Eastern Time, the U.S. Senate cleared lingering objections of both Democrat and Republican members and unanimously passed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act.

  

  

SECURE Act Video Series

  

  

SECURE Act

Washington Pulse: SECURE Act: The Wait is Finally Over

For the past three years, Congress has attempted to pass major retirement reform legislation. It has finally succeeded with the year-end passage of two spending packages meant to avert a government shutdown. One of the packages...