Defined contribution plan

Proposed Tax Benefits for Retirement Saving Distributions Used for LTC Insurance

Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA), has re-introduced the Long-Term Care Affordability Act, legislation that would permit tax-free retirement saving distributions of up to $2,500 per year—indexed for inflation—that are used to purchase long-term care insurance. The arrangements to which the legislation applies would include qualified retirement plans, 403(a) and 403(b) plans, governmental 457(b) plans, and IRAs.

These distributions would also be exempt from the 10 percent early distribution penalty tax. The bill would also create new distribution triggers for employee deferral amounts that have been contributed to 401(k), 403(b), and governmental 457(b) plans.

This bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance


Women’s Retirement Protection Act Re-Introduced in House/Senate

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL) have introduced the Women’s Retirement Protection Act of 2021 in their respective chambers. The legislation is intended to address what some have identified as a gap between the retirement preparedness of women compared to their male counterparts—a gap seemingly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Key provisions of the legislation are as follows.

  • Require consent of marital partner for retirement plan loans or distributions
  • Reduce long-term, part-time worker eligibility from three years during which an employee earns 500 hours as enacted under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, to two years (this proposal is included in other retirement reform legislation under consideration in the House and Senate)
  • Require the providing of consumer protection-type information with financial product or service proposals
  • Provide Department of Labor-administered grants to community-based organizations to improve the financial literacy of women and assist in obtaining qualified domestic relations orders

DOL Provides FAQs for Lifetime Income Illustrations

The Department of Labor (DOL) has provided FAQs addressing questions about the timing of implementation of pension benefit statement lifetime income illustrations under the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. The SECURE Act requires plan sponsors of ERISA-covered plans to disclose annually a projection of a lifetime income stream that could be generated by a participant’s total accrued benefit. Implementation is to be effective for benefit statements provided more than 12 months after the DOL issued guidance.

The DOL published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) entitled, “Pension Benefit Statements – Disclosure Regarding Lifetime Income” in the Federal Register on September 18, 2020. The FAQ illustrates and confirms that for participant-directed plans required to provide quarterly statements, the first quarterly statement that must meet the lifetime illustration requirements is the second calendar quarter in 2022, or June 30, 2022. For plans that are not participant directed, the first statement will generally be required for calendar year 2021, which would be furnished no later than October 15, 2022.

The FAQ also clarifies that benefit statements providing lifetime income illustrations meeting DOL guidelines under a 2013 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will satisfy disclosure obligations under the IFR.

The DOL intends to issue a final rule as soon as practicable and acknowledged commenter concerns about potential challenges if a final rule differs materially from the IFR.

 


IRS Issues Deadline Relief for Michigan Storm Victims

The IRS has issued a news release announcing the postponement of certain tax-related deadlines for Michigan victims of severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes. The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting June 25. Individuals and households that were affected and reside in the Washtenaw and Wayne counties, as well as taxpayers with records located in the covered area needed to meet covered deadlines qualify for relief.

In addition to extending certain tax filing and tax payment deadlines, the relief includes completion of many time-sensitive, tax-related acts described in IRS Revenue Procedure 2018-58 and Treasury Regulation 301.7508A-1(c)(1).

Affected taxpayers with a covered deadline on or after June 25, 2021, and before November 1, 2021, will have until November 1, 2021, to complete the act(s). This includes the filing of Form 5500 series returns that were required to be filed on or after June 25, 2021, and before November 1, 2021.

“Affected taxpayer” automatically includes any individuals who live, and businesses whose principal place of business is located, in the covered disaster area. Those who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area, but have been affected by the disaster, may contact the IRS at 866-562-5227 to request relief.


IRS Proposes Electronic Filing Requirements for Certain Information Returns

The IRS has released a pre-publication version of proposed regulations amending rules intended to increase the filing of electronic returns in accordance with the Taxpayer First Act of 2019. Additionally, the IRS has withdrawn previously proposed regulations regarding electronic filing that were published on May 31, 2018.

The new proposed regulations reduce the threshold by which filers must electronically file from 250 to 100 returns for the 2022 calendar year. For filings required after calendar year 2022, the threshold will be further reduced to 10 returns. Currently, the threshold is determined separately for each type of information return. The proposed regulations would remove this rule, thus, requiring all return types to be aggregated for determining the new thresholds. The regulations further clarify that for purposes of filing amended returns, the amended form must be filed in the same manner (electronic or hardcopy) as the original filing.

Information returns affected by the proposal include, but are not limited to, the following.

  • Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.
  • Form 1042-S, Foreign Persons’ U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding
  • Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax
  • Form 5498-ESA, Coverdell ESA Contribution Information
  • Form 5498-QA, ABLE Account Contribution Information
  • Form 5498-SA, HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA Information
  • Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits
  • Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan
  • Form 5500-SF, Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan
  • Form 5500-EZ, Annual Return of A One-Participant (Owners/Partners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan or A Foreign Plan
  • Form 5330, Return of Excise Taxes Related to Employee Benefit Plans

Filers with an inability to file electronically (i.e., lack of Internet service) may file with the IRS to request a waiver.

A period of 60 days for submitting comments on the guidance, or to request a public hearing, will begin upon publication in the Federal Register.


IRS Again Extends Temporary Relief from Physical Presence Requirement for Retirement Plan Consents

The IRS issued Notice 2021-40, extending guidance released under Notice 2020-42 and previously extended by Notice 2021-03, which provided 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. The additional extension provides relief through June 30, 2022. This includes signatures of those making an election ordinarily needing 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.

Under this relief, live audio-video technologies may be used to facilitate remote notarization for distributions if meeting other election requirements and if this is consistent with state laws governing notarization. Also, for certain plan elections that must be witnessed by a plan representative, witnessing may be accomplished by live audio-video technology, but only if certain access, security, review, and confirmation conditions are met.

The IRS has received comments from several stakeholders requesting permanent relief from the physical presence requirement, or asking for additional time to comment. The IRS continues to request comments until September 30, 2021, particularly on cost burdens associated with the physical presence requirement, whether there is evidence that the temporary removal has resulted in fraud, how participant elections are being witnessed, and what procedures and guidance should be implemented to provide safeguards in lieu of existing requirements.


IRS Issues Final Regulations for Mandatory Deadline Postponements Related to Federally Declared Disasters

The IRS has released final regulations regarding the mandatory 60-day postponement of deadlines for certain time-sensitive, tax-related acts in circumstances of federally declared disasters, implemented under the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020.

The tax-related acts covered by this guidance are defined in Internal Revenue Code Section 7508A. This is the authority cited for postponement of deadlines in cases of localized disaster declarations. Such localized relief is announced by the IRS in news release form, describing the area affected—generally on a county-by-county basis—and describing the length of the deadline postponements.

The final regulations clarify the definition of “federally declared disaster” for purposes of deadline extensions to include both a major disaster declared under section 401 of the Stafford Act and an emergency declared under section 501 of the Stafford Act.

Additionally, the guidance provides details of the 60-day mandatory postponement period.

  • If the Treasury Secretary does not exercise her discretion to postpone a time-sensitive act, it cannot be postponed under the mandatory extension.
  • Time-sensitive acts specifically postponed include making contributions to a qualified retirement plan or IRA, withdrawing excess IRA contributions, recharacterizing IRA contributions, and completing rollovers.
  • The mandatory 60-day postponement period begins on the earliest incident date specified in a disaster declaration and ends on the date that is 60 days after the latest incident date.
  • In no event will the mandatory 60-day postponement period exceed one year.
  • The extension will not apply when there is no specified initial incident date.

The definition of “federally declared disaster” is applicable today with final publication in the Federal Register. The clarifications to the mandatory 60-day postponement period apply to disasters declared on or after December 21, 2019.


IRS Issues Deadline Relief for Louisiana Storm Victims

The IRS has issued a news release announcing the postponement of certain tax-related deadlines for Louisiana victims of severe storms and flooding. The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting May 17. The areas included in the relief are Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, and Lafayette parishes.

In addition to extending certain tax filing and tax payment deadlines, the relief includes completion of many time-sensitive, tax-related acts described in IRS Revenue Procedure 2018-58 and Treasury Regulation 301.7508A-1(c)(1), which include filing Form 5500 for retirement plans, completing rollovers, and making retirement plan loan payments.

Affected taxpayers with a covered deadline on or after May 17, 2021, and before August 16, 2021, will have until August 16, 2021, to complete the act(s). This includes the May 17 deadline for filing 2020 individual income tax returns and paying any tax due. Taxpayers also have until August 16 to make 2020 IRA contributions.

“Affected taxpayer” automatically includes any individuals who live, and businesses whose principal place of business is located, in the covered disaster area. Those who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area, but have been affected by the disaster, may contact the IRS at 866-562-5227 to request relief.


Enhancing Emergency and Retirement Savings Act Introduced

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) have introduced the Enhancing Emergency and Retirement Savings Act of 2021 to provide flexibility and access for those who experience unexpected emergencies.

The legislation would provide a penalty-free “emergency personal expense distribution” option from employer-sponsored retirement plans and IRAs. The proposal would allow for one emergency distribution per calendar year of up to $1,000 from the individual’s total nonforfeitable accrued benefit under the plan. The bill requires that the withdrawn funds be paid back to the plan before an additional emergency distribution from that same plan is allowed. The amount can be recontributed within a three-year period to any eligible plan to which a rollover contribution can be made.

An emergency personal expense distribution is defined as a distribution for purposes of meeting unforeseeable or immediate financial need relating to necessary personal or family emergency expenses. The plan sponsor of an employer-sponsored retirement plan may rely on an employee’s certification that the conditions are satisfied in determining whether the distribution is an emergency distribution.