It’s the time of year when Plan Sponsors scramble to deliver the myriad notices required to be given to their participants. Even with the help of service providers, the sheer number of notices can be overwhelming.
Being a plan sponsor comes with a good bit of responsibility. You’ve taken the important step of hiring a third-party administration firm to help you navigate the myriad of processes that are required to keep your plan in compliance with applicable regulations. Below are a few helpful hints to keep your plan in compliance, avoid unnecessary corrections, and help to better serve your participants.
With the reporting deadline for employee benefit plans rapidly approaching, it is important to be familiar with the 401(k) audit compliance rules and to know the difference between an annual 401(k) audit performed by a CPA firm and an IRS or DOL 401(k) plan audit.
If your company has decided to offer a high deductible health plan, don’t worry, you are not alone. Recent studies show that an increasing number of employers have elected to offer high deductible health plans (HDHP) either to completely replace or be offered in conjunction with a more traditional Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)plan or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan. When sponsoring an HDHP, employers typically offer their employees the ability to contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA) to help offset the increased deductible associated with the HDHP. In 2015, 24 percent of all workers were enrolled in a HDHP with an HSA savings option. This is a dramatic rise since 2009 when just 8 percent were covered under such plans.
Maintaining a retirement plan for your employees is no easy task. At various points during the year, employers and HR departments field participant questions, help with enrollments, deliver notices and statements, and participate in the distribution process. However, an additional responsibility, and one of the most important, is the collection of data that is used for compliance testing and government reporting. Though all these duties are important, one task drastically affects the outcome of your compliance testing; accurate reporting of all employee information to your third-party administrator. Sound onerous? Not really.
Defined contribution plans generally follow calendar years, which prevents compliance and administration complications that arise from an off-calendar plan year. Off-calendar plan years are typically structured to follow the fiscal year, with the rationale that the profit sharing contributions would be tied to fiscal year performance. This logic is somewhat flawed, since you are effectively giving the same profit sharing contribution at whatever point you decide to make the contribution, but you are increasing the administrative costs and risk of errors (administration or compliance) in running the off-calendar plan year.