The IRS recently announced the 2024 cost-of-living adjustments to various benefit and contribution limits applicable to retirement plans. The IRS modestly increased the applicable limits for 2024. The following limits apply to retirement plans in 2024:
- The limit on elective deferrals under 401(k), 403(b), and eligible 457(b) plans increased to $23,000.
- The limit on additional catch-up contributions by participants aged 50 or older remains at $7,500. This means that the maximum amount of elective deferral contributions for those participants in 2024 is $30,500.
- The Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) Section 415 annual addition limit is increased to $69,000 for 401(k) and other defined contribution plans, and the annual benefit limit is increased to $275,000 for defined benefit plans.
- The limit on the annual compensation that can be taken into account by qualified plans under Code Section 417 is increased to $345,000.
- The dollar level threshold for becoming a highly compensated employee under Code Section 414(q) increased to $155,000 (which, under the look-back rule, applies to HCE determinations in 2025 based on compensation paid in 2024).
- The dollar level threshold for becoming a “key employee” in a top-heavy plan under Code Section 416(i)(1) is increased to $220,000.
Continue reading “IRS Announces 2024 Retirement Plan Limits”
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 generally requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to submit a Gag Clause Prohibition Compliance Attestation (Attestation) each year to demonstrate compliance with the prohibition on including gag clauses in certain agreements. The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (the Departments) issued FAQs last February requiring affected plans and issuers to submit their first Attestations no later than December 31, 2023, covering the period beginning December 27, 2020 through the attestation date, with subsequent Attestations due annually thereafter.
Prohibition on Gag Clauses
Group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group health insurance coverage are prohibited by ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code from entering into an agreement with a health care provider, network or association of providers, third-party administrator (TPA), or other service provider offering access to a network of providers that would directly or indirectly restrict a plan or issuer from (i) disclosing provider-specific cost or quality-of-care information to referring providers, plan sponsors, enrollees or eligible individuals; (ii) electronically accessing de-identified claims and encounter information or data for plan participants, beneficiaries, or enrollees, and (iii) sharing such information or data with business associates, consistent with applicable privacy regulations. A similar prohibition applies to health insurers offering individual health insurance coverage under the Public Health Service Act. These prohibited restrictions are referred to as “gag clauses.”
Continue reading “Reminder: Gag Clause Attestations Due by Year-End”
Written by members of Faegre Drinker’s benefits and executive compensation team, this blog features analysis and information on matters related to retirement plans, health and welfare plans, ESOPs, ERISA litigation, fiduciary governance, and other benefits issues.
This quarterly digest provides links to our most popular posts during the past few months so that you can catch up on what you missed or re-read them.
By Sarah Bassler Millar, Yael Kalman and Dawn Sellstrom
Plan sponsors, insurers, and third-party administrators should pay close attention to the new guidance to facilitate health plan compliance with complex nonquantitative treatment limitation comparative analyses requirements.
By Kimberly Jones and James E. Crossen
401(k) plan fiduciaries recently defeated a lawsuit alleging the fiduciaries imprudently managed and paid excessive record keeping an investment fees. The victory for the fiduciaries follows a jury trial win of Yale University’s 403(b) plan. The court opinions in both of these cases serve as a good reminder that offense is the best defense, and ERISA plan fiduciaries best protect themselves against ERISA breach of duty of prudence claims by proactively implementing strong fiduciary governance practices, such as keeping thorough committee meeting minutes.
By Mona Ghude and Mark Rosenfeld
On August 25, 2023, the IRS announced a two-year delay for the Roth catch-up contribution requirement for employees making $145,000 or more in the prior calendar year that would have applied in 2024. The Roth catch-up contribution requirement will now be effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2025.
On August 25, 2023, the IRS announced a two-year delay for the Roth catch-up contribution requirement for employees making $145,000 or more in the prior calendar year that would have applied in 2024. The Roth catch-up contribution requirement will now be effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2025. (For an overview of SECURE 2.0 for defined contribution plan sponsors, click here.)
On July 7, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama issued a ruling in Perfection Bakeries Inc. v. Retail Wholesale & Dep’t Store Int’l Union & Indus. Pension Fund, ordering Perfection Bakery, Inc. (Perfection Bakery) to pay the Retail Wholesale and Department Store International Union and Industry Pension Fund (the Fund) withdrawal liability in the amount of $15.6 million.
The court affirmed the previously issued arbitrator’s decision regarding the amount of withdrawal liability Perfection Bakery owed the Fund for its 2018 complete withdrawal. Perfection Bakery argued that the partial withdrawal liability it had paid as a result of its 2016 partial withdrawal should count towards the 2018 total withdrawal liability to reduce the total liability overhead cost. Perfection Bakery argued that the Fund, by not doing so, had misinterpreted the applicable law governing withdrawal liability.
Continue reading “You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too”
A series of cases against fiduciaries of 401(k) plans that offer BlackRock Target Date Funds (TDFs) have been dismissed by district courts in recent months. In three recent cases, the district courts held that plaintiffs failed to allege any facts about the plan fiduciaries’ process for selecting and monitoring the BlackRock TDFs and that plaintiffs’ reliance on the BlackRock TDFs’ alleged underperformance alone was insufficient to state a claim for breach of fiduciary duty.
Continue reading “Plan Fiduciaries Continue to Defeat BlackRock Target Date Fund Class Actions”
The SECURE 2.0 Act made sweeping changes to Internal Revenue Code (Code) and ERISA provisions governing employee benefit plans. In a recent letter to the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee addressed a number of ambiguities and technical errors in the SECURE 2.0 Act and signaled their intent to introduce technical correction legislation. (Exactly which errors will be fixed in such legislation remain to be seen.)
The letter pinpointed the following four provisions of the SECURE 2.0 Act and asked the IRS to implement the legislative provisions in a way that would “ensure that Congressional intent is carried out:”
Continue reading “Congressional Leaders Address SECURE 2.0 Act Glitches”
The IRS recently issued Notice 2023-43 (Notice) to provide interim guidance on Section 305 of SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 (SECURE 2.0), which significantly expanded self-correction under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS). The Treasury Department was directed under SECURE 2.0 Section 305 to issue an updated version of EPCRS (most recently set forth in Rev. Proc. 2021-30) by December 29, 2024. The Notice is intended to provide some answers to plan sponsors in advance of the update to Rev. Proc. 2021-30.
In general, Section 305 of SECURE 2.0 broadened the scope of self-correction by permitting any eligible inadvertent failures (EIFs) to be self-corrected within a reasonable period after the failure is identified. SECURE 2.0 defines the self-correction period as indefinite, with no last day, so long as the IRS does not identify the failure before the plan sponsor takes action demonstrating a specific commitment to implement a self-correction to the failure.
Continue reading “IRS Issues Interim Guidance on SECURE 2.0 Self-Correction Expansion”
On February 27, 2023, the IRS and the Department of Treasury published proposed regulations regarding the use of forfeitures in qualified retirement plans. If finalized, the proposed rule will be effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2024. However, plans may rely on the proposed regulations now.
Continue reading “Use of Forfeitures in Qualified Retirement Plans”
The Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it has finalized, together with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), the third and final round of revisions to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan and the 5500-SF Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan.
These Phase III revisions implement certain elements of a September 2021 regulatory proposal, which included proposed changes to annual reporting requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Some of the changes relate to the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enforcement Act (SECURE Act), including items affecting multiple-employer plans (MEPs) and defined contribution group reporting arrangements. As such, the changes mostly impact retirement plans. Phase III revisions are effective for plan years beginning January 1, 2023, with filing beginning in July 2024. The previous Phases I and II adopted changes for plan years 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Continue reading “Final Changes Announced to Forms 5500 and 5500-SF”