Select a Topic from below to learn more:

Qualified Plan Design
Plan Document Qualification
Annual Administration
Audit Representation
Private Letter Ruling Requests
Prohibited Transaction Exemption Applications
Voluntary Correction Program
Department of Labor Advisory Opinions
Plan Termination
Consulting Services
Integration of Qualified Plan and Estate Planning

 

 

 

 

 

Qualified Plan Design

Preparation of economic case analyses and studies enhancing tax sheltered savings for owners and key employees while concurrently providing opportunities for adequate and sufficient retirement income for all non highly compensated employees.

 

 

 

Plan Document Qualification

Design, preparation and submission of plan documents to the Internal Revenue Service for purposes of securing Favorable Letters of Determination individually owned by the plan sponsor.

 

 

 

Annual Administration

Preparation of sponsor annual compliance reports required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the United States Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Services include but are not limited to preparation of actuarial valuations, participant accountings, participant statements, minimum coverage tests under Tax Code Section 410(b) and the uniform benefit accrual test under IRC Section 401(a)(4), Annual Plan Reports Form 5500, and Actuarial Certifications.

 

 

 

Audit Representation

Services include acting for and on behalf of plan sponsors before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and includes dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration services throughout the various administrative agency processes.

 

 

 

Private Letter Ruling Requests

Plan Sponsors sometimes desire advance ruling and determinations from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) before engaging in proposed commercial transactions. The IRS will issue advance private letter rulings based upon a formal written request disclosing all relevant and material facts, a statement of persuasive authority supporting the plan sponsor's theory and desired conclusion, the submission of the appropriate user filing fee and supporting documents. Advanced letter ruling requests are made to the National Office of the IRS. Services include structuring of transactions frequently in conjunction with the plan sponsor's other advisors, drafting, preparation and submission of content material and documents along with acting for the taxpayer requesting the opinion before the IRS.

 

 

 

Prohibited Transaction Exemption Applications

The Department of Labor will issue advance rulings regarding transactions proposed by plan sponsors and parties-in-interest considered prohibited under specific provisions of ERISA. Upon a proper showing that the transaction is compliant with ERISA, in the best interest of all plan participants, and will not adversely affect the benefit security of the participants, the U.S. Department of Labor will issue private exemptions allowing a party in interest to enter into arms- length transactions with the Sponsor's plan. Services include economic and financial analysis and structuring of the Sponsor's proposed transaction frequently in conjunction with the plan sponsor's other advisors; and the drafting, preparation and submission of the proposed exempt transaction request along with a request for an administrative exemption under ERISA from the United States Department of Labor.

 

 

 

Voluntary Compliance Resolution Petitions, Closing Agreement Petitions and Self-Correction of Plan Operational Defects

Many times, Plan Sponsors will unwittingly enter into transaction that are disqualifying events and operational defects in the administration of their plans or possibly incur a defect in their plan's language that is disqualifying. These defects may include but are not limited to failure to provide minimum benefit coverage, exclusion of a class of employees who are eligible to participate in the plan, failure to properly test plans with union and nonunion participants as separate plans for minimum coverage and for uniform benefit accrual purposes, some prohibited transactions, and non arms-length transactions with the plan sponsor's plan.

Since the early 1990’s the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has administered a voluntary correction program which allows a plan sponsor to cure an operational defect with proper disclosure, correction, and demonstration of compliance with existing laws, and safeguards against the defect from occurring again in the future.

Services include economic and financial analysis of defects and proposed corrections, preparation of voluntary compliance resolution petitions or closing agreement petitions on behalf of requesting plan sponsors including representation of the client before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Services also include preparation of supporting memoranda of persuasive authority demonstrating that the proposed corrections are compliant with ERISA, IRS Statutes and Regulations, and preparation of draft Compliance Statements sought to be approved by the Internal Revenue Service curing the operational defects.

 

 

 

Department of Labor Advisory Opinions:

Title I of ERISA gives the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) jurisdiction to safeguard employee benefit security. The DOL has authority to issue legislative regulations and interpretations of Title I of ERISA and has jurisdiction to bring legal enforcement action against trustees, plan sponsors, and parties in interest to protect employee benefit security.

The Department of Labor will upon request issue rulings in the nature of advisory opinions to parties requesting them. These advisory opinions are a matter of general public interest. For example, DOL Advisory Opinion 96-02 is one such opinion requested on behalf of a Carnow & Associates Ltd. plan sponsor in 1996 raising the issue how to handle qualified retirement plan assets of lost and missing participants under an ERISA section 404(c) Safe Harbor Participant Directed Investment program. Advisory opinions are intended to bring closure to uncertain areas and to demonstrate the DOL's application of the law to the facts and circumstances presented by the plan sponsor.

Services include analysis of plan sponsor issues, structuring of options, drafting and preparation of the proposed advisory opinion request and submitting the request to the Secretary of Labor.

 

 

 

Plan Termination:

When a business is sold or a plan sponsor believes the plan is no longer affordable or has reached the end of its life cycle, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers plan sponsors the opportunity to bring certainty and closure to the plan’s operation. The issuance of an IRS favorable determination letter upon termination grants the plan sponsor the right to rely upon the IRS administrative findings provided complete disclosure of all facts and circumstances has been made in the application. The IRS termination process has sometimes been described as a pre- termination audit.

Services include a pre-termination review and examination of plan documents and prior years' plan operations including but limited to the adequacy and sufficiency of the plan document and amendments, prior years' annual plan reports, prior actuarial valuations and/or contribution allocation schedules with all associated participant accountings, executed terminated participant distribution authorization forms and qualified domestic relation orders, the preparation of the application for Favorable Determination Letter upon Termination, IRS Form 5310, the resolution to terminate the plan, the notice to interested parties, demonstration and proofs of compliance with the minimum coverage rules of IRC Section 410(b) and the Uniform Benefit Accrual Rules of IRC Section 401(a)(4), distribution schedules and submission of the plan, plan amendments, prior years valuation and/or participant accountings, and prior years annual plan reports to the IRS. Services include representation before the IRS, and Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation when relevant.

 

 

 

Consulting Services:

Services include review and opinions to the plan sponsor and other professionals regarding transactions related to qualified plans along with case analyses and studies designed to provide assurance to plan sponsors that their plans are compliant with the requirements of ERISA.

 

 

 

Integration of Qualified Plan and Estate Planning:

The qualified plan is a wonderful estate-planning tool. It allows tax-sheltered savings and tax-free compounding of investment gains. Too few plan participants take advantage of the estate planning opportunities that are afforded.

Among these planning opportunities are:
• Retirement income accumulation;
• Surviving spouse rollover opportunities and/or disclaimers;
• The use of an insurance sub trust which when properly planned, allow insurance proceeds to avoid federal and state Estate Taxes;
• The use of split dollar insurance;
• The ability to insure a participant's spouse or other family member;
• The ability to insure a partner a co-shareholder or member of a limited liability company as part of business continuity planning; and
• The ability to insure a participant and the participant spouse using last to die or survivorship insurance.