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December 3, 2009
DOL Updates its Employment Guide
The DOL recently released its updatedEmployment Law Guide. This Guide is made available to employers to provide general overview information and compliance assistance of the various laws administered and enforced by the DOL, including:
IRS Pilot Project Aims to Reduce Identity Theft
In an effort to address identity theft issues, the IRS and Treasury Department have started a 2-year pilot project for 2009-2010 (IRS Notice 2009-93), that would permit, but not require, the use of a truncated Social Security Number (SSN) number on paper copies of the Form 1098 series, the Form 1099 series, and the Form 5498 series. The pilot project is only available for paper filings of these types of payee statements. It would allow SSNs, or other 9-digit IRS tax identifying number, to be truncated by replacing the first five digits of the 9-digit number with asterisks or Xs (for example, a social security number 123-45-6789 would appear on the paper payee statement as ***-**-6789 or XXX-XX-6789).
Retiree Health Plan Flexibility Under Fire
The national health care reform debate is in full swing. It is far too early to project what might, or might not, come out of this debate. However, for those who sponsor, or are contemplating adopting, a retiree health benefit, one point bears watching.
November 5, 2009
2010 Retirement Plan COLAs
Following are highlights of the 2010 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) issued by the IRS, applicable to defined benefit and defined contribution plans. You will note that, by and large, there are no adjustments for 2010. A COLA is based on the cost of living index; which has dropped; and thus, there are no increases for 2010.
Pandemic H1N1 Planning
Several federal and state resources are available to assist businesses and employers in preparing a pandemic plan for their workplace (also seePandemic Flu Basics from the May 2009 Benefit Beat). Below are links for revised information and guidance that may be helpful:
COBRA Subsidy Extensions Proposed
At least two bills have recently been introduced in Congress that would extend the COBRA subsidy period:
Welfare Benefit Plan Violations: Self-Reporting Required
On September 8, 2009, the Department of Treasury issued final regulations relating to self-reporting excise taxes imposed as a result of certain welfare benefit plan violations. The excise taxes are not new; the self-reporting requirement is new. These rules apply for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2010.
Civil Penalties for HiTech Violations
On October 30, 2009, interim final regulations were issued by HHS’ Office for Civil Rights relating to civil monetary penalties, arising from violations of the HiTech law (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). These rules amend the four tiers of civil penalties that can be imposed upon covered entities, as defined by the HIPAA Administrative Simplification laws, to provide for penalties in the event of any HITECH violations relating to breach of medical information (seeBreach Notification Rules Issued). Below is the revised table of potential penalties:
Notice Reminders: Medicare Part D
Revised EEOC Poster Includes ADAA and GINA Provisions
The EEOC has revised its “Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law” poster. The poster was revised to include information about the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), and updates from the Department of Labor. Two versions of the poster are available: one is an ‘all-in-one’ current edition, and the other is a supplement for an existing posting. Information relating to GINA must be posted by 11/21/09; the ADAA information became effective 1/1/09.