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Bob Toth has more than 35 years of experience in employee benefits law. His practice focuses on the design, administration and distribution of financial products and services for retirement plans.

Normally, all of the players in any ERISA plan’s life cycle operates under any number of these well-established PTEs. However, in that the PEP is a new sort of arrangement, it is not entirely clear that these existing PTEs will be sufficient to pay all of the PEP players. To address this crucial issue, the DOL has issued a Request for Information on June 18 to gather information on what further, if any, PTE relief will be needed to make the PEP work.There are two noteworthy developments related to these efforts, s the ARA/ASPPA letter to EBSA requesting PTE relief for PEP operatives and, is the letter Congressman Neal wrote to the EBSA.
Continue Reading Rep. Neal and ARA/ASPPA Differently Address Fundamental Issues Underlying the DOL’s Pooled Employer Plan “Request For Information”

What I thought may be useful to discuss is what happens when an employer chooses NOT to offer the CRD relief under the CARES Act. A surprising number of employers have taken this approach. But the employer’s decision is not the final word on this matter, because the statute grants participants specific tax benefits regardless of the sponsor’s choice. So what does this actually mean for participants?
Continue Reading What Happens To Participants’ Covid-Related Distributions When An Employer Chooses Not To Treat Them As Such?

The typical LOSAP will permit a withdrawal for “unforeseen emergencies.” Yet the new CARES Act distribution rules provides no relief for these distributions. The CARES Act does not allow the tax on LOSAP distributions to be spread over three years, like it does for the tax on distributions from other kinds of retirement plans. There is also no ability for the firefighter to repay the amount of those distributions back to the plan, as the CARES Act allows to be done for other types of retirement plans.
Continue Reading Impact of CARES on Volunteer First Responder’s 457(e)(11) LOSAP Plans

Here’s where the problem seems to come in under the determination of a participants COVID status:  there is a bit of ambiguity in the third condition of eligibility: nowhere does it specifically mention the impact of the loss of employment or reduction in hours o of the spouse of the participant in the calculation of what are the causes of the participant’s adverse financial circumstances.
Continue Reading The Fiduciary Angle to the Participant COVID Certification Because of Spousal Employment Loss

Robert Richter, now of ARA and chief editor of the EOB, has weighed ion my posting on the suspension of the due date of loan repayment. I had posited that it is effectively is the participants choice, as the specific language of the statute declares that  “such due date shall be delayed for 1 year” -when combined with the need of the participant to certify COVID stays-effectively means an employee has the right to continue payments or not. I also suggested that the language of the statute means that the employer has no authority to impose a due date. He pointed out that the IRS may end up not agreeing, if past is prescient.
Continue Reading CARE Act Suspension of Loan Repayments: Is it the Employer’s or the Participant’s Choice?

The structure and the language used by the drafters of the CARE Act in their crafting of the new participant loan repayment suspension rules seem to be both rare and stunningly broad: it appears to mandate, as a matter of federal law, that each loan repayment due through December 31, 2020  by COVID qualifying participants are suspended for one year.

This is actually a big deal. Section 2202(b)(2) of the CARES act, which mandates the suspension, did fool with the amortization schedules, or the timing and taxation of defaults under  Section 72(p) of the Tax Code, which is the section which governs the tax aspects of loans. In fact, it did not amend Section 72(p) at all.  Nor did it amend any part of ERISA Section 408(b)(1), which hold the ERISA rules governing loans.
Continue Reading The CARES Act Participant Loan Payment Suspension Rules Take an Unusual Approach in Making the Change; 403(b) Policy Loans Affected Differently

It seems that if policy makers want to have an impactful effect, suspend this tax during this crisis. I would not disagree with  my economist friends who may now caution against this seemingly rash move; to consider its long term impact; and to be concerned about the depletion of long term retirement savings. I am particularly sensitive to these concerns, of course, and they are valid.It  becomes a question of how to balance competing economic interests, but I suspect the widespread impact of that 10% penalty may weigh in favor of its temporary suspension.
Continue Reading The Immediate COVID-19 Retirement Fix Which Congress Missed in the Great Recession: Temporarily Suspend the 10% Early Distribution Penalty Tax

There is in the SECURE Act a volume of small, odd, technical  details which need to which attention needs to be paid. This statute is a technocrat’s dream. So much in there actually raises fundamental  infrastructure issues of the sort we rarely see. We are all familiar with the 80/20 rule, with the caution of not letting perfection become the enemy of good. Well, these “oddities” raise the exact inverse of the 80/20 rule: through my long years in retirement product development,  the highest risk of failure arise from the lack of understanding of how the smallest of details can tank a multi-million dollar project. The “80” may sound good conceptually and structurally, but it is in the implementation of the detail in the 20 which will determine the success of the project.

Continue Reading Tontines and PEP Late Deferrals Are Among the SECURE Act’s Impactful, Infrastructure Oddities

The one topic which seems to be on the forefront of a significant number of professionals, however, is the attempt to make sense of the new MEP and PEP rules. This is especially so because they follow so closely on the Association Retirement Plan regs finalized by the DOL and the “Unified Plan (“bad apple”) rule proposed by the IRS.  These commentators seem to be taking are common misstep, however:  it seems like (with rare exception) that each of these analyses are missing the assessment of the use of the “Group of Plans,”or “GoP”, in relation to MEPs and PEPs.
Continue Reading A Valid “Multiple Employer Plans”/ “Pooled Employer Plans” Assessment Requires Inclusion of the “Group of Plans”