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January 7, 2010
COBRA Subsidy Extended
Congress has given plan administrators and COBRA continuees a Christmas present in the form of extending the COBRA subsidy that is part of theDepartment of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010 (“DOD Act”, HR 3326). President Obama signed this Act on December 19, 2009.
Updated IRS Publications
The IRS has recently updated several publications that may be of interest to employers:
IRS Provides Relief for NQDC Plan Document Failures
Code Section 409A governs taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation. It provides specific rules relating to funding and distribution (also see409A Documentation Limited Relief from the Oct 2007 Benefit Beat). The IRS just issued Notice 2010-6, providing a voluntary document correction program for failures occurring in these plans.
December 3, 2009
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.
DOL Investment Advice Withdrawn Altogether
On November 19, 2009, the DOL announced that it was withdrawing its rules relating to investment advice (see prior Benefit Beat articles: Investment Advice Regulations Postponed…Yet Again! and Investment Advice Regulations Postponed Again).
Form 5500 Updates
Schedule C Guidance
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).
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:
November 5, 2009
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:
2010 COLAs – Various Benefits, Social Security and Medicare
In Revenue Procedure 2009-50, the IRS released several cost of living adjustments for various benefits. Following are amounts applicable to tax years beginning in 2010.