“Give it BACK!!!”…”No!”…”OK, Keep It!”

Posted By: Maria T. Hurd, CPA, RPA What if the Participant Already Spent the Overpayment from the Plan?     Ineligible or excess distributions from qualified plans happen all the time. In our last 30 years of auditing retirement plans, our distribution tests have uncovered all the following ineligible or excess distributions:   Hardship reason not met: A participant doesn’t … Continued

Why Should Taking a Hardship Distribution be a Hardship?

Posted By: Maria T. Hurd, CPA Taking a hardship distribution should not be, in itself, a hardship to a participant going through challenging times, nor should it be an administration hardship to the employer trying to help. Although obtaining documentation to substantiate a hardship is not, in itself, difficult, missing hardship backup is one of the most common operational errors … Continued

Party in Interest Versus Related Party

Posted By: Maria T. Hurd, CPA Transactions with Related Parties and Parties In Interest: What are the GAAP disclosure requirements? ERISA’s definition of a party in interest is broader than a related party as that term is defined by GAAP. Parties in interest include all entities and individuals that provide services to the plan; however, these entities may not necessarily … Continued

Form 5500 Penalties Increased by How Much?

Posted By Maria Hurd, CPA The SECURE Act increased IRS Late Filing Penalties for Form 5500 by how much? How can I avoid them? IRS Penalties Tenfold. That’s how much the SECURE Act (the “Act”) increased the penalty for the late filing of a Form 5500 –TENFOLD! Before the Act, the IRS could assess a civil penalty of $25 for … Continued

Correction Options for Retirement Plan Errors

Posted by Maria T. Hurd, CPA In a highly regulated industry with complicated rules that always have exceptions (except when the exception does not apply) it is inevitable that sooner or later a failure to follow the plan document will take place. Such operational errors can be corrected through the IRS Employee Plan Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) in one of … Continued

What are the Available Safe Harbor Plan Formulas?

Posted By Maria T. Hurd, CPA Contrary to popular belief, company owners and highly compensated employees (HCEs) are not guaranteed the opportunity to contribute the maximum 401(k) contribution limit to their company’s retirement plan, even if the 401(k) deferral contributions represent their own money. That is because 401(k) plans are subject to nondiscrimination tests to ensure that a disproportionate share … Continued

The 5 Ws of a 401(k) Plan Audit

Posted By: Stacey Snyder, CPA, QKA, TGPC If you’ve just been informed that your 401(k) plan needs an audit, you probably have many questions if you have never been through a 401(k) audit. Hopefully by answering the five Ws (Who? What? When? Where? Why?), we’ll cover most of your questions. WHO? – Who Audits a 401(k) Plan? The audit of … Continued

How Has a New Auditing Standard Given Auditors More Flexibility in Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements?

Posted by Tyler Starr, CPA The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Auditing Standards Board (ASB) issued the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 19, Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements, in December 2019. SSAE 19 supersedes SSAE 18 AT-C section 215 of the same name and also amends certain provisions of SSAE 18 section 105, Concepts Common to All … Continued

How Do I Correct Late Salary Deferral Deposits?

Posted by Christopher J. Ciminera, CPA, QKA Update – April 29, 2020 On Wednesday, April 29, 2020 the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) also posted a Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01. In this notice, the EBSA provides relief to plan sponsors regarding the possibility of lags in deposits due to the recent COVID-19 issues which was addressed in my blog below. … Continued