The fourth quarter can be a hectic time of year for any business owner and that feeling can be exacerbated if you are also the sponsor of a qualified retirement plan or health and welfare benefit plan. That said, taking inventory of the various deadlines for these plans can give peace of mind to managers and ensure that your organization avoids potential fines and penalties, as well as participant complaints or other governmental action.
See the links below for highlights of the qualified plan and health and welfare benefit plan year-end compliance deadlines. This list is not exhaustive, but should give plan sponsors some things to think about as we approach the end of the year.
Qualified Plan Administrative and Compliance Deadlines (based on calendar year plan)
Health and Welfare Benefit Plan Administrative and Compliance Deadlines
Are Your Plans Subject to These Deadlines?
A retirement plan that meets the requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is known as a "qualified plan." Qualified plans are eligible for favorable tax treatment – they allow employers to deduct annual contributions for participants and contributions and earnings on those contributions are tax-deferred until withdrawn by the participants. A plan that fails to meet the Code and ERISA requirements runs the risk of losing these tax benefits and subjecting the sponsoring employer to potential claims, fines and penalties. Qualified retirement plans include: defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, profit sharing plans, 401(k) plans, money purchase plans, and employee stock ownership plans.
Sponsors of health and welfare benefit plans are also faced with year-end compliance obligations. The enactment of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought with it new requirements to be taken by health plan sponsors each year with many to be accomplished by the end of 2014. In addition to the ACA requirements are the typical reporting and notice tasks encountered every year. Health and welfare benefits plans include, among other types of plans: health, dental, accidental death and dismemberment, disability, health reimbursement accounts, and flexible spending accounts, although most of the requirements above simply apply to health plans.
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For More Information
The qualified retirement plan and health and welfare benefit plan compliance process can be overwhelming. If any of the deadlines above apply to you or you are unsure what other deadlines might apply to your particular situation, please consult with one of the authors of this alert, or a member of Polsinelli's Employee Benefits practice, to determine what you should do.