'Tis the Season

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'Tis the Season

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.  Below is a summary of the notices that may apply to a calendar year 401k plan.

Safe Harbor Notice – December 1st marks the deadline to distribute a notice of intent to use a safe harbor formula in the 2019 plan year. This notice must be provided to participants and plan beneficiaries no less than 30 days, but not more than 90 days, before the beginning of the plan year for which the election will apply.

Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) Annual Notice – Also due December 1st, regulations require a plan utilizing a default investment option to issue an annual notice to all active participants, former employees with account balances, and plan beneficiaries, who were previously defaulted into the QDIA and who have not subsequently directed the investment of their account. The notice must be delivered no less than 30 days prior to the beginning of the plan year. 

Automatic Contribution Arrangement – If a plan offers either an eligible or qualified automatic contribution arrangement, commonly referred to as auto-enrollment, the employer must provide a notice explaining election options under the plan to all employees who are eligible to participate no less than 30 days, and no more than 90 days, prior to the beginning of each plan year.

ERISA 404(c) Disclosures – Due December 31st, the plan administrator must distribute notices to participants and beneficiaries if the employer wants to limit fiduciary liability for participant-directed investment decisions.  If the decision to be covered by 404(c) is stated in the Summary Plan Description, this notice does not need to be distributed annually.

Fee Disclosure Notice – If not provided earlier in the year, December 31st is the last day to provide plan participants with the fee disclosure information required by ERISA 404a-5.  The regulations require that plan participants and their beneficiaries receive an annual notice detailing information regarding the fees associated with the plan’s investments and any administrative service fees that are charged against participant accounts.

 

Upcoming Compliance Deadlines for Calendar-Year Plans (12/31)

December 2018
1st Participant Notices – Annual notices due for Safe Harbor elections, Qualified Default Contributions (QDIA), and Automatic Contribution Arrangements (EACA or QACA).  
31st Participant Notices – Annual notices due for ERISA 404(c) and Fee Disclosure.  
31st Discretionary Amendments - Deadline to adopt discretionary plan amendments for calendar-year plans. If changes have been made to your retirement plan this year, the amendment documenting this change must be signed by the last day of the plan year in which it became effective.  
31st Required Minimum Distributions – Participants who have attained age 70 1/2, and have begun receiving distributions from their account, are require to receive a distribution each year prior to December 31st.  
January 2019
31st   IRS Form 945 - Deadline to file IRS Form 945 to report income tax withheld from qualified plan distributions made during the prior plan year. The deadline may be extended to February 10th if taxes were deposited on time. during the prior plan year.  
31st IRS Form 1099-R - Deadline to distribute Form 1099-R to participants and beneficiaries who received a distribution or a deemed distribution during prior plan year. A deemed distribution can occur if a participant fails to make timely loan repayments.  
31st IRS Form W-2 - Deadline to distribute Form W-2, which must reflect aggregate value of employer-provided employee benefits.

 

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