The IRS has issued final regulations amending the hardship distribution rules for qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) and 403(b) plans, as well as for 457(b) plans. The final regulations are substantially similar to the proposed regulations that were issued in November 2018, but provide a few clarifications.  Plans that have been complying with the proposed regulations will satisfy the final regulations.
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The current trend at both the state and federal levels is moving in the direction of mandatory paid family leave.  For example, in recent years, 6 states (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have enacted mandatory paid family leave benefits for employees.  Moreover, at least 18 other states are currently considering some form of paid family leave legislation.
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If you are looking for options to lower your annual PBGC premiums and reduce overall pension liability including plan termination liability), a retiree lump-sum window may again be a viable option. De-risking strategies are methods a company can implement to reduce its pension plan’s administrative expenses, PBGC premiums and overall pension liability.
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On October 29, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Department of Health and Human Services jointly released proposed regulations in response to President Trump’s executive order calling for an expansion of the ability of employers to offer health reimbursement arrangements to their employees and to allow HRAs to be used in conjunction with nongroup coverage.
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The 2017 Tax Act (the “Act”) imposes a 21 percent excise tax on compensation in excess of $1 million and “excess” severance paid by covered tax exempt organizations to certain employees starting in 2018.  As reflected in the Act’s legislative history, the general intent behind this excise tax is to put tax exempt organizations (which are generally exempt from income taxation) in roughly the same position tax-wise as publicly held and other for-profit companies which cannot deduct excess compensation and “golden parachute” payments paid to their covered employees.  
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The IRS recently updated the FAQs on its website regarding the employer mandate to provide some details on the process it will use to impose penalties for failure to provide coverage to “ACA full-time” employees (those working 30 or more hours per week) in accordance with Section 4980H of the Code (often referred to as the “employer mandate”).
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