401(k)/Profit Sharing Plans
We help plan sponsors comply with the litany of confusing federal rules and regulations that apply to 401(k), profit sharing and money purchase plans, among others. We work with our clients at each step of the process, including the initial design of the plan, drafting of the plan document and employee disclosure materials, nondiscrimination testing compliance and plan termination. Given the onerous nature of the applicable Internal Revenue Code regulations, administrative errors can occur. When this happens, we work with our client to navigate the IRS's plan correction program, known as the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS). We use EPCRS to help our clients correct the mistakes and maintain the tax-qualified nature of their plans while minimizing (and frequently avoiding) IRS penalties. Further, we update our clients' plans to reflect legal changes, and we secure favorable IRS determination letters with respect to their plans' tax qualification.
Our practitioners are keenly aware of the value many employers place on employee ownership. We work closely with employers who sponsor Employer Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and other plans which invest in employer stock. ESOPs are subject to additional, complex rules that do not apply to other plans, and we help their sponsors navigate these rules. We draft ESOP plan documents and prepare IRS determination letter applications for these plans. Finally, we help clients through the complicated process of ESOP termination.
We have extensive experience with all aspects of defined benefit pension plans, including cash balance and other hybrid plans. We assist these plan sponsors with plan design issues and help ensure that they comply with the special Internal Revenue Code rules that apply to their plans. We also work with employers who contribute to multiemployer (i.e., Taft Hartley) plans and have helped clients manage multiemployer plan withdrawal liabilities.
We advise financial institutions, plan advisors and other fiduciaries, including plan sponsors, about governance structures, risk management and other ERISA fiduciary issues. Additionally, we help many retirement plan advisors, including investment managers, trustees and custodians, understand the scope and allocation of ERISA fiduciary duties and manage their fiduciary exposure under ERISA. We also work with clients who are (or could become subject to) ERISA's "plan asset" rules. When it is not practical for clients to avoid these requirements, we help ensure they are aware of and comply with all applicable fiduciary obligations
Our Employee Benefits attorneys have a keen awareness and a wealth of knowledge of the Internal Revenue Code's and ERISA's prohibited transaction rules. We help our plan sponsor and fiduciary clients understand and comply with these rules or qualify for statutory and regulatory exemptions.
Our Employee Benefits Practice Group has substantial experience in navigating EPCRS, the IRS plan correction program. We also assist clients with correction of fiduciary breaches by using the Department of Labor (DOL) Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program. Finally, we help clients avoid significant DOL and IRS penalties for delinquent annual report (Form 5500) filings by taking advantage of the DOL Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program.