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May 11, 2011
The Outlook for Major Tax Reform: What You Need to Know
April 18, 2011
HRB 34 - Repeal of Free-Choice Vouchers and Form 1099 Reporting
April 5, 2011
Financial Incentives for Wellness Program Participation: Employers Beware
The increased use of wellness programs raises issues relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (see Health Risk Assessments: Where Do They Stand? from the June 2009 edition of the Benefit Beat). The potential risk can arise in a couple ways, such as inquiring about non-job related disability, or making coverage under a health plan contingent upon completing a health risk assessment. The EEOC has not provided formal guidance on this matter; however, have issued two informal opinions.
ADAA Regulations Issued – Discrimination is the Focus
The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA) was enacted September 25, 2008. This law amended the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which became law on July 26, 1990 (see ADA Amended from the October, 2008 Benefit Beat). On March 25, 2011, final regulations implementing the ADAA were issued. These regulations become effective on May 24, 2011.
April 4, 2011
HRB 33 - Grandfathered Status and ERRP Updates
The Agencies (DOL, HHS and IRS) have recently issued some additional sub-regulatory guidance relating to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the form of Frequently Asked Questions. These 6 new FAQs relate primarily to determining grandfathered status as follows:
March 30, 2011
HRB 32 - IRS Issues Interim Guidance on W-2 Reporting
March 22, 2011
HRB 31 - Delay in Claims and Appeals Enforcement
March 2, 2011
IRS Issues Guidance on 403(b) Plan Termination Provisions
In Revenue Ruling 2011-7, the IRS begins to clarify how a 403(b) plan can be terminated and how a distribution can occur on a tax-favored basis. A 403(b) plan can be sponsored by not-for-profit entities and public schools.
IRS Clarifies Lactation Expenses Qualify as Medical Care Expenses
The IRS recently issued an Announcement relating to the excludability of breast pumps and nursing equipment. IRS Announcement 2011-14 affirms that the cost of breast pumps and lactation aids are deemed to be medical care under IRC §213(d) in that, “like obstetric care, they are used for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body”. Therefore, expenses relating to breast pumps and lactation supplies are excludable from an employee’s income, and can be purchased with tax-favored dollars through a flexible medical spending account, a health reimbursement arrangement or a health savings account. This ruling is consistent with the trend toward wellness, and general health and well-being.
IRS Reviews 401(k) Questionnaires and Outlines Next Steps for Compliance
Last summer, the IRS began a process of sending out random questionnaires to 401(k) plan sponsors for purposes of determining potential compliance issues or plan operational issues (see IRS’ Compliance Questionnaire: 401(k) Plans, from the June, 2010 edition of Benefit Beat). In the Winter, 2010 edition of an IRS newsletter, Monika Templeman, the Director of the IRS’ Employee Plan Examination division, indicated the next steps in this process. Of particular note, the IRS intends to conduct full-scope examinations of those plans whose sponsor failed to respond to the 401(k) Questionnaire. The IRS encourages plan sponsors to review the Questionnaire’s instructions (available on-line here) as an internal control tool; and, then utilize available IRS correction programs to fix errors. It is important for a plan administrator that receives the audit request to attend to it carefully.