Is Your Business ERISA Compliant? How To Make Sure Your Small Business Is In Compliance

‘Compliance’ is a term that is commonly heard in the business world. Having a business that is in compliance is often a goal for many small businesses. However, if you are wondering is your business ERISA compliant, it cannot simply be a goal. In fact, ERISA non-compliance is the law, and stiff penalties await any business that fails to follow the law.

The ERISA, or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, is a Federal law that stipulates specific minimum standards for welfare plans, health plans and retirement plans that qualify. Although this sounds simple enough at first glance, right beneath the surface lies the confusion and complexity of the law that often stops small business owners in their tracks.

The complexity of the law is becoming even more evident, especially with the passing of certain legislation such as the PPACA, or Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act. This is also known as the Health Care Reform Act. The PPACA has a direct impact on health plans that are covered by ERISA.

The Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service are two Federal agencies that not only oversee these types of plans but also work to ensure the plans are enforced. These agencies are also paying very close attention to sponsors, those who are compliant and those who are not. Between 2008 and 2010, over 70 percent of these retirement plans were audited by the DoL (Department of Labor), and the penalties averaged over $400,000 per plan.

So, with all of this information, it can be nerve-wracking for business owners to know is your business ERISA compliant. Fortunately, there are several things that can be done to make sure businesses are indeed compliant.

Plan Documents

All plan documents have to be compliant with the regulations and laws. Any amendments made to the documents have to be signed by the appropriate parties wherever applicable. All plan operations are also required to be in compliance.

Having A Summary Plan Description And Summary Of Benefits In Place

A summary plan description, or SPD, is information that informs participants about all of the terms and conditions of the plan. Some of the information included is:

Obligations
Rights
Benefits

These SPDs are typically given to participants, and ERISA compliance requires that these documents are automatically sent to participants within a certain time frame.

On the other hand, an SBC (summary of benefits and coverage) provides participants with general information and they also allow participants the opportunity to compare different health plans before choosing one.

Employers can choose to integrate these two documents, but failure to provide one or the other is an ERISA violation that can result in hefty fines.

Health Plans Compliant With ERISA

Almost all group health plans should have SPD. These types of plans include all key medical benefits, but also include plans for dental, wellness, and vision. It is important to remember that the rules for ERISA apply to more than just the main health benefits, so be sure you account for all of them.

Responsibility Of Plan Administrator
ERISA compliance is the job of the plan administrator. This can be a designated person within the organization, or it can be the employer (sponsor of the plan). The plan administrator must be named in the SPD (summary plan description), and this person is not able to avoid liability for any SPDs by delegating tasks to other people in the organization.

Also, keep in mind that most TPAs (third-party administrators) are not usually designated to be plan administrators of ERISAs. However, they may assist with the distribution and drafting of a summary plan description if they are under contract.

Insurers are not responsible for creating SPDs for ERISAs either. They may decide to assist with benefit descriptions or certificates of coverage, but these items are not considered SPDs.

So, is your business ERISA compliant? These regulations can be difficult to understand, but by working with compliance professionals and resources, you will avoid making costly mistakes.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you or a business is in need of ERISA compliance services. We will provide best service for best price. Form 5500 Champions!

Contact us @ Phone: (515)-244-2424

or email us

ERISA Services: What is ERISA and How Can ERISA Consultants Help?

ERISA Services are needed now more than ever before in the workplace and in your business.

When you hire new employees one of the things that they will want to know is whether they will be able to save for retirement and how they can go about it so that by the time they retire they have enough of a nest egg to live on. ERISA, which is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act has been put in place to take care of all that. It was enacted in the 70’s and it is used to provide employers, insurance companies and pension companies with guidelines on employee benefit plans. The Act doesn’t cover government employees or church employees.

ERISA doesn’t force you, as a private business, to have pension plans for your employees but if you decide that you want to have them it sets down some requirements that you must meet. ERISA was initially enacted to stop mismanagement of pension plans by private employers, but over time its scope has been expanded so that employees are able to access much more information about their retirement savings.

According to findlaw.com: “Prior to ERISA’s enactment in 1974, the U.S. Department of Labor started regulating employee benefit plans when the Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act (WPPDA) came about in 1959. The WPPDA required employers to make plan descriptions and annual financial reports available to the government and plan participants. Although this was meant to give employees a chance to keep an eye out on any abuse or mismanagement of their funds, the WPPDA was still very limited in scope and it was because of this that ERISA was enacted. ERISA provisions apply to plan years starting on or after January 1, 1975. The Act has widened the scope of information being relayed to employees. It has implemented a type of healthcare plan enforcement that requires employers to manage funds exclusively for plan participants and their best interests, and expanded on the reporting procedures to the government.”

erisa services

As an employer you may not be an expert in retirement savings plans and you may find yourself unable to decipher all that the Act requires and put it into action. It is for this reason that many private companies choose to hire consultants to provide ERISA services. It is very important to make sure that you are in compliance with the requirements of the ACT – failure to do so will result in hefty fines for each employee and you may even find yourself facing lawsuits. A good ERISA consultant will help break down the requirements of the act so that you are never found liable either by the government or by the courts. Here are some of the areas where they can help you:

•    Failure to comply with ERISA can lead to serious fiduciary exposure. Your directors and other executives can find themselves exposed to expensive lawsuits for failing to comply with an act that they didn’t know about, or didn’t understand in the first place. A consultant will let you know about the obligations of the business owners so that you can minimize risk.

•    ERISA services and compliance consultants also play an important role on retiree medical benefits. Some employers will reduce retirement medical benefits in an effort to reduce the overall costs of running the business and almost always this is followed by litigation. If you hire the right ERISA consultant they will let you know what you can and cannot do so that you stay on the right side of the law.

•    There are many third parties involved in the administration of ERISA and disputes often develop on fees, responsibilities and more. These also lead to lawsuits that can be expensive and time consuming. An ERISA services consultant will be charged with taking care of all third parties on your behalf and they will advise you whenever necessary.

The pension plan for your employees is something that should be handled by an expert because if things go wrong it can end up costing your business. Experienced ERISA consultants like Benefits Compliance Consultants Inc. can do this for you.

Visit this page for a free quote with us.

Form 5500 Answers, Wrap Plans and Benefits Compliance

Want Form 5500 Answers?

The Form 5500 series is a joint development by the DOL, the IRS, and the PBGC. It is a series of returns used to register information on employee benefit plans. Created as a disclosure tool and document, it plays a role in assessing economic trends. Its framework designs itself for benefits compliance. It attempts to ensure the proper operation and compliance of requirements. Its function is in regards to the benefit plans and rights of employees.

form 5500 preparation

Filing requirements and procedures

The Form 5500 is for companies with at least 100 employees enrolled in a specific benefit plan. Said companies have to abide by ERISA’s mandatory rule to file the form. In filling it out, taken into account is the type of benefit plans used by employees. Plans subject to ERISA include medical coverage, pension, life insurance and disability benefits. For plans with fewer than 100 participants, companies must use the Form 5500-SF. For non-resident aliens, companies must file the Form 5500-EZ instead.

The Form 5500 and its variations are all available in DOL’s website. Starting January 1, 2010, each form has to undergo electronic submission. DOL accepts either IFILE or EFAST2-approved vendor software. Paper filings are no longer accepted. Form 5500 preparation is subject to the annual reporting requirements posed by ERISA. Companies must file the form within a seven-month period by the end of each plan year. The due date lies on July 31 in the calendar year. Failure to follow the submission of requirements results in large penalties. The only way to reverse sanctions is by submitting said requirements. To avoid acquiring penalties, there is an option to request for a 2.5-month extension. Companies avail of this extension by submitting a Form 5558 before the deadline.

Usually attached to a Form 5500 is a schedule that which depends on the type of filer. On one hand, schedule A must be along with File 5500 in the case of any plans covered by group insurance contracts. On another, schedule C is only required for large funded welfare plans. But this type of situation is uncommon. Form 5500 generally asks for information on a few things. Among these are insurance contracts, service providers, retirement plans, financial condition and transactions, among others.

Wrapping the plan document

To keep track of the benefits compliance in each company, ERISA mandates the use of a wrap plan document. It improves documentation by allowing the compilation of many plans at a time. It serves as a great tool in putting a bigger stack of information into one productive single space. A well-drafted document consists of all important terms and conditions in a plan. In short, it must provide a clean summarized description of the specific benefit plan. Aside from documentation purposes, it also has a use in legal matters. It puts into paper the plan sponsor’s legal obligations, powers and rights. It also records the sponsor’s administrative actions. Additionally, the employer can limit their liability by jotting down their specific terms. These terms are ones they define and set in administrative practice.

The wrap plan comprises one single plan. Hence, only one plan description should be maintained and updated now and then. The plan sponsor should only file one Form 5500 and then attach the schedules. There are separate schedules for each benefit and their respective contracts.

All in all, the use of a wrap plan document acts as a simple solution in reducing administrative expenses. This is especially important in smaller companies. For they usually have fewer resources than large employers. Without a wrap plan to assemble each amendment, documentation poses more hassles. The employer must provide separate articles for each plan for every change implemented. To adhere to the regulations set by ERISA, the easiest way to go about this is to provide a single document. This document compiles each important content that matches ERISA’s requirements. In fact, the significance of proving summaries cannot be stressed enough. As long as one follows instructions, the whole process should be as smooth as can be.

Have Questions?

Call (515)-244-2424

Contact Us

 

Benefits of Benefits Compliance

There are many benefits of benefits compliance. This article talks about just a few of those benefits in business.

So a group of persons comprises a company. Each person possesses rights both as an individual and as a member of a functioning society. One fundamental right of an individual is to have access to benefits and welfare. A running business is hence obligated to protect the rights of its employees. It should work towards ensuring social security. But benefits compliance still has to adhere to the rules set by the industry and government. Laws and policies regard the type of benefits and plans often provided to employees.

To manage employees’ benefit plans, a company must use a wrap plan document to record a plan’s details. Section 402 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act mandates the use of the wrap plan. A wrap plan document is a legal document that assembles all plan contracts into a single plan. The design of this tool ensures better compliance to government laws. It also encourages better administration of benefits compliance.

benefits of benefits compliance

The employer or sponsor follows a certain process when a plan has more than 100 participants. Under one copy of Form 5500, the sponsor creates and files separate schedules. In general, employees usually take advantage of health and welfare plans. But the list can also extend to pension plans and retirement arrangements. Other examples of plans are drug prescription plans and life insurance, among others. As of 1974, these benefits are all subject to the requirements of ERISA. A company must pay attention to the deadlines. They must do the Form 5500 preparation every year, within seven months at the end of each plan year. If following the calendar year, the due date would then be on July 31.

As you can see the benefits of benefits compliance is far reaching.

The Form 5500 series is a joint project developed by the DOL, the IRS and the PBGC. Its specific role or function is to collect information on employee benefit plans. It assesses various variables in a business environment. Such variables include financial status, transactions, investments, insurance and operations of all plans. Benefits compliance makes sure to include all required information when filing the forms. From a legal perspective, the form establishes fiduciary. It lays down the responsibilities of an employer to their employee and vice versa. It also makes official the compliance to benefit plans. This is especially when it’s oversaw by an organized governmental body.

Benefits compliance isn’t only for documentation purposes. It also reaches out to other areas of business and industry. It has an important role in the entire company’s decision-making process. It’s a good supplement to keeping track with daily sociological trends. This is especially important with the rapid pace of industry today. Information must always pass over to people in as smooth a process as possible. Both the employers and the employees must cooperate together in this event. To assist with the task of managing plans, a person or persons with industry knowledge do the work. They’re there to make sure the entire process runs as well as possible. The benefits of benefits compliance services usually cover access to experienced attorneys, consultants and professionals.

To summarize, the role of ERISA and its implications on work life has been highlighted. A client or participant hence has the responsibility to be aware of the principles they need to abide by. They also have the right to take advantage of benefits that relate to their status as an employee. As much as possible, troubles should not pose during the process of applying for plans. An employee should be able to enroll in their chosen benefit plan. An employer then has to take the responsibility of filing the wrap plan document. Every individual has the right to good health and well-being. Hence, a person’s priorities outside of work must take precedence.

The benefits of benefits compliance is ongoing in business. As companies continue to grow online and offline there will always be uncontrollable and new factors that will need addressed. If you have questions about benefits compliance, Form 5500, wrap plan document or the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program we offer consulting, preparation of forms and filings your business needs to stay compliant.

Watch our introduction video to learn more about Benefits Compliance Consultants Inc. and how we can help your business succeed with today’s business compliance needs.

The Idea and Process Behind Benefits Compliance

The benefits compliance process is well documented and is a much needed part of a US based business.

Before starting a business, you must know the government’s rules first. A company’s laws depend on a few things like its size, number of employees and property type.

Labor laws exist to ensure people’s satisfaction with their professional lives. An employer must always know how to form good relationships with their employees. To do so, they must understand the needs of their people, and cater to those specific needs.

In a work setting, employees often look for ways to improve their lives. One way they do this is by taking advantage of certain benefits. Benefit plans in business exist for this very purpose. A good employer must know the importance of following benefits compliance.

In general, employees usually avail of health plans, welfare plans, retirement arrangements, profit sharing plans, life insurance, disability insurance and medical coverage. Most of these benefit plans are under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as of 1974. ERISA’s main aim is to protect the employees’ rights to a good well-being.

benefits compliance process

Compliance of benefit plans follows a certain process. First, most companies must do the Form 5500 preparation. The Form 5500 is the annual report of employee information. It contains and collects the major details about a person’s benefit plans. Companies with 100 or more employees who have benefit plans must file the Form 5500 every year. Participants don’t cover dependents. They only include employees, retirees and primary COBRA beneficiaries. For companies with fewer than 100 participants, a different form is otherwise used.

Attached to the Form 5500 are schedules. The schedule attached depends on certain categories, like the type of filer. Usually considered when filling out the Form 5500 are financial transactions, retirement pension, insurance contracts, defined benefit plan information, and service providers. All requested information must be filled out as indicated in the Form 5500.

As of 2010, all variations of Form 5500, along with the schedules, must be submitted online. In this case, one uses the EFAST2 system. DOL allows the use of EFAST2-approved third-party software. Another alternative is its online filing system IFILE . The due date of filing the form is within seven months following the end of the plan year. Another option, though, is submitting a Form 5558 to extend the due date by two and a half months. The Form 5500 series is bound to all guidelines set by the DOL, IRS and PBGC. One receives penalties when they fail to submit the requirements on time. The Form 5500 is used to measure economic and psychological trends in industry. The form acts a disclosure tool and protects the rights of the participating people.

An employer is always encouraged to provide welfare benefit plans to their employees. For organization purposes, ERISA also mandates the use of wrap plan document. This document records the terms and conditions of each benefit plan. Its design makes it so that it includes all information required by ERISA. A well-drafted plan document consists of eligibility requirements, plan procedures, and coverage length. In short, it must provide an accurate summary of the plan’s information. It should encourage strict compliance to ERISA’s requirements. Its purpose also is to help the company easily keep track of many documents all at once. This assists in wide-scope auditing and decision-making.

Meeting the requirements for benefits compliance is a necessity in every company. It’s a task that requires an ability to keep up with new updates and changes in the industry. Hence, businesses usually hire experts to handle the processing of benefit plans. Additionally, there must be a smooth delivery of information between the people involved. In this case, it’s between the regulators and the clients. It’s important that everyone is aware of the different principles they should follow. On the other hand, a good management team must be capable of abiding by the rules. They must watch over the entire process of benefits compliance. This is so they can identify any possible issues as soon as they rise up. Making informed decisions is a must in business.


Benefits Compliance Consultants Inc.

Phone: (515) 244-2424

Our company specializes in benefits compliance services for delinquent filer voluntary compliance program, Form 5500, wrap plan document, 401k preparation filings and much more.

 

 

Cost Of Benefits Compliance 2019 For American Business

Looking at the cost of benefits compliance 2019 in business.

Have you taken a closer look at the cost of benefits compliance 2019? If you haven’t looked at this yet, you’ll want to do that sooner rather than later. Being fully aware of the cost of compliance can save you a lot of hassle. These are a few things you should consider.

Be Aware Of What Your Benefits Are

It will be difficult for you to accurately evaluate the cost of benefits compliance if you’re not familiar with your benefits. You’ll want to take a close look at the benefits that are available to you. The more information you have, the better.

If you’re familiar with your benefits, it will be easier for you to defend certain costs. It will also be simpler for you to spot areas in which you can make cutbacks. Devote some time to look at the benefits you have. Do some research so that you can evaluate your current costs more effectively.

Look At The Return On Investment

When you’re spending money on benefits, you’re getting something back in return. You shouldn’t focus your attention on the costs alone. You should also think about the ROI. Are you getting a lot for the money that you’re putting in?

If you don’t feel like you’re getting a good ROI, you may want to make a few changes. That said, a lot of people are more comfortable with their benefits costs when they look at their benefits with ROI in mind. Pay attention to what you’re getting for the money you’re spending.

Make Sure You’re Aware Of All The Costs You’ll Be Covering

It’s easy to forget expenses when you’re looking at the cost of benefits compliance 2019. For example, you might forget to take things like financial restatements or FCPA penalties into account. You should look at all of the expenses that you’ll have to cover, and you’ll want to look at the money you’ll be saving as well.

You won’t want to be hit with any unexpected expenses down the road. If you look at all of your expenses now, you’ll be able to make sure you can budget appropriately.

See How Your Costs Will Be Changing In 2019

How do you expect your expenses to change in 2019? Is there anything that is going to cost you more money? Are there any opportunities for you to save? You shouldn’t just look at what your expenses were that year. You should see if your expenses are going to change in any way.

There is a good chance that the cost of benefits will change in 2019. Of course, this means that the costs of compliance will change as well. If you take a closer look at all of these changes, you’ll be able to make smart decisions going forward.

Decide Whether Or Not You’d Like To Make Significant Changes

Once you’ve evaluated everything, you can think about the changes you might want to make. If you’re comfortable with your current costs, you may not want to make any changes. If you want to cut back your expenses, you should definitely try to find the best changes to make.

It can be hard to decide whether or not to make changes. However, if you look closely at your costs and how they will be changing, you should be able to figure out what your next step should be.

Keep all of these suggestions in mind when you are looking at the cost of benefits compliance 2019. Make sure that you properly evaluate the costs that you are facing. Having the right information can make a world of difference.

cost of benefits compliance


Benefits Compliance Consultants Inc. can assist your ERISA compliance needs including Form 5500, 401K Form 5500, wrap plan form management and DOL audit.

benefit consultants group

 

 

 

Or contact us by phone: (515) 244-2424

DOL Form 5500 Modernization Proposal Faces an Uncertain Future

DOL Form 5500 modernization proposal faces an uncertain future and many businesses don’t know how to react.

Deal with the Labor Division’s effort to expand, streamline as well as update the DOL Form 5500 Collection has actually been halted till a new head of the DOL’s Employee Advantage Protection Administration (EBSA) remains in place, according to ERISA lawyer S. Derrin Watson.

Work with the Labor Division’s effort to increase, improve and also update the Type 5500 Collection has actually been stopped up until a brand-new head of the DOL’s Staff member Perk Safety and security Administration (EBSA) remains in place, inning accordance with ERISA attorney S. Derrin Watson.

Leading a workshop session at the 2017 ASPPA Yearly Meeting Oct. 23, Watson noted that Preston Rutledge, senior tax obligation as well as benefits advise on the Republican tax staff of the Us senate Money Committee, has been nominated to serve as head of the EBSA. Even thinking that Rutledge’s election is approved and he fills up the leadership vacuum at EBSA, “it is not most likely the [DOL form 5500 innovation] effort will certainly be high on his listing of priorities,” said Watson, keeping in mind that the fiduciary regulation will likely be his key emphasis.

As well as of course, the Trump administration’s restrictive view of the duty of the federal government generally, and also of federal guideline particularly, is basically the polar opposite of the view of the Obama administration, under which the Kind 5500 modernization effort was developed and also promoted. “There are a number of things I believe the new political leadership will wish to take in a different direction,” Watson informed guests.

ARA General Counsel Craig Hoffman, who regulated the session, kept in mind one element that might apply pressure on the EBSA to shuffle the Kind 5500 initiative higher on its checklist of priorities: the impending have to renew the vendor contract for administration of the EFAST digital filing system. Hoffman additionally suggested that also if the innovation proposition is withdrawn or reconsidered after brand-new leadership remains in area at EBSA, “some pieces of it might be burst out as well as relocated independently,” consisting of numerous arrangements that ASPPA supports.

Generally, the considerable expansion of the extent of the information gathered on the DOL Form 5500 Series proposed by the EBSA would certainly develop substantial new problems on those that prepare the kinds, and also the focus on higher public access would be a boon to plaintiffs’ lawyers. But Watson did highlight some excellent information, or even a possible company growth chance.

The Bright Side

Watson noted a significant enhancement in the means tiny DC plans are differentiated from large ones: Under the proposal, the interpretation would be based on the variety of active individuals with account balances.

Additionally, 5500-EZs and Kind 5558 expansion demands can be filed electronically (paper declaring would still be offered). The latter might be a long-sought service to the problem come across by filers that submitted a 5558 but found that the kind had actually not been processed by the DOL by the end of the expansion, causing a “late” declaring that had not been really late.

To fit a brand-new reporting demand for health insurance plan developed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the EBSA’s Type 5500 innovation proposition consists of a required that all health plans must report ACA-mandated information on a brand-new Set up J. Keeping in mind that the DOL estimates that this new reporting demand will include over 2 million new DOL Form 5500, Watson asked: “Do you see an opportunity to increase your business?”


form 5500 preparation

Does Your Business Need DOL Form 5500 Preparation? We love to help!

Or Call BC2 at (515)-244-2424 for assistance

 

Form 5500 Schedule C Filings

Form 5500 Schedule C Filing Requirements

What is Form 5500 Form?

Form 5500 is the form used to file the Annual Report of Employee Benefit Plan information with the DOL (Department of Labor). If the Employee Benefit Plan is subject to ERISA (the Employee Benefit Income Security Act of 1974), form 5500 must be filed annually. ERISA requires that companies file information on their qualified welfare and pension plans with the IRS every year.

Who Needs to File Form 5500?

The sponsor of the Employee Benefit Plan or arrangement that is subject to ERISA must file Form 5500. Plans that are subject to ERISA include, but are not limited to:

– Profit sharing plans
– 401(k) plans
– Stock bonus plans
– Money purchase plans
– Certain annuity arrangements
– Church pension plans elected to be covered by ERISA
– Individual retirement plans established by employers
– Certain welfare benefit plans providing medical and dental benefits, severance pay, and life insurance.

form 5500 schedule c

How to File Form 5500

The 5500 form is due on the last day of the month following the 7th calendar month from the end of the plan year. This means July 31 for the calendar year plans, assuming it is a business day. The due date can be extended by 2 – 2 ½ months by submitting Form 5558 on or before the original due date of Form 5500. A Corporate Tax Extension Form 7004 can also be used to extend the filing of Form 5500 by 1 – 1 ½ months if the corporate fiscal year and the plan year are the same.

The form must reflect the characteristics of the plan and its operations and consists of the main form together with required schedules and attachments. Specific schedules required will depend on the type of filer and is generally broken down into 2 categories: Pension benefits; and Welfare Benefits – further subdivided into large or small plans.

What is Form 5500 Schedule C?

For large plans Form 5500 Schedule C must be filed which outlines service providers utilized by the plan to whom more than $5,000 were paid in fees; or an enrolled actuary or accountant whose services were terminated in the plan year. In general, large plans with participants of 100 or more have more complex reporting requirements than One-participant plans. Usually, these plans are required to include audited financial statements and to file Schedule C. Schedule C Form 5500 requires expanded reporting on fees for services rendered by providers that became effective from the beginning of January 1, 2009.

Form 5500 Schedule C Consulting

If you need help preparing your Form 5500, our company has been assisting plan sponsors and employee benefits brokers in eliminating the worry and burden associated with the Form 5500 filing process. Our dedicated customer service and proven processes have made us one of the most trusted ERISA Health and Welfare reporting companies in the business. The Plan Sponsor is ultimately responsible for the complete and accurate filings of Form 5500, and our expert consultants can assist your business in ensuring that your filings are prepared in accordance with ERISA reporting standards without the worry of comebacks from the Department of Labor.

We provide many Plan Sponsor needs including the following:

– Managing timing and deadlines
– Gathering Schedule C data from administrators and insurance companies
– Help ensure compliance
– Manage ERISA requirements and changes over time
– Provide e-filing instructions and guidelines
– Discuss and review preparation and completion of schedule C
– Prepare signature-ready Form 5500 Schedule C for E-Filing
– Prepare Form 5558 Extension of Time to File if necessary
– Prepare Summary Annual Reports
– Keep up to date with changes in the Federal Rules and Regulations that impact Form 5500 submissions.
– Present recent updates from the IRS and DOL
– Help avoid penalties


Give us a call today at (515)-244-2424 to discuss the best solutions to your Form 5500 Schedule C filing issues. Our expert team of consultants will provide you with complete peace of mind that your Form 5500 filings are compliant and up to date.

Or Request Quote by Email

Five Benefits Of General Data Protection Regulation

general data protection regulationThe European General Data Protection Regulation has attracted a lot of attention recently, but a lot of the focus has been on the huge (multi-million dollar) fines that a business could be hit with if they were found to be in breach of the regulations and they failed to protect the data of their customers. Vendors and suppliers are pushing that side of things as a way to boost sales for the products and services that they offer. The cost of being non-compliant is simply too great to ignore.

Focusing on the punitive issues that are associated with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is unwise, however, because there are some huge benefits to working towards compliance, and really business owners should be embracing the regulations as a motivator to help them make their business better, instead of focusing on the potential fines that make GDPR seem like an unnecessary burden.

Positive One: Improving Your Cyber Security

There is no excuse for being ignorant about cyber-security these days. Data breaches can cause downtime, are bad for PR, and can cause significant financial loss for you and your customers. Take cyber security seriously. The general data protection regulation legislation coming into effect is a good starting point for making your workflows more security-conscious.

A part of the legislation specifies that organizations must identify a security strategy, and take steps to improve their technical systems, to protect citizen’s personal data. It is almost impossible to regulate the integrity of a specific type of data (e.g. customer data) while leaving the rest of your IT environment behind. The regulations will force you to evaluate and improve your overall systems, and will force you to examine the rest of your infrastructure, build efficient workflows, and be systematic about security monitoring. This means that your organization will be less vulnerable to attacks, and you will experience viewer virus outbreaks, and be a less appealing target for low hanging fruit style attacks and exploits. This is one area where investing will save you money.

Positive Two: Better Data Management

A major part of compliance is knowing what information you currently hold on people. You will need to audit the data that you have, so that you can minimize what you are collecting and holding, and organize storage around that, as well as refining the way that the data is managed. Getting rid of redundant, obsolete or trivial files that do not have any business value is a good starting point. This means getting rid of old customer data that you do not need – things that hold no value to your organization, and that could actually pose an unjustifiable risk to your business if you were to keep it and it were then to get leaked as a part of a data breach.

Once you have analyzed all the data that you hold, you can start implementing mechanisms to fulfill other future requirements – such as making data searchable, and indexing it. This will benefit you in the future because if a customer decides to exercise their right to be forgotten then you will be able to comply with it. You can simply search for their data and remove it all in one go, thanks to the easily searchable systems that you have set up.

Positive Three: Improved Marketing Return On Investment (ROI)

A big part of the general data protection regulation comes down to ensuring that you have the consent of the person whose data you hold, and that you process that data within the confines of that consent. This means that you should purge ROT information, and make sure that all marketing leads opt-in. If you get rid of all of that ‘dead’ data, and purge lost leads and people that don’t want the info, you will have a lean, fine-tuned set of data that consists purely of people who definitely want to read your messages or get your calls. This means that you can experiment with niche marketing, you can tailor your messages to specific people, and hopefully get a much better response rate overall. The General Data Protection Regulation is forcing people to appreciate the value of quality over quantity and rewards people who spend their budgets wisely.

Positive Four: More Trust and More Loyalty

GDPR compliance is something that will help your business to form much stronger, more trusting relationships with the general public and with your customers. When you are gathering people’s consent to use their data, you have to explain to them what you are asking them to consent to. This means that your customers feel more comfortable because they can see that you are being transparent, and that you have a systematic approach to how data is being handled. General Data Protection Regulation makes it easy to show that you care about privacy, and that you will treat customer data responsibly.

Positive Five: Improve Your Business Culture

Today, it’s normal for businesses to be eco-friendly, animal-friendly, LGBT-aware, and generally ethical. That is something that did not seem possible as recently as ten years ago. Why not make the new culture be ‘privacy-friendly’, especially as we live in such a data focused world. The GDPR is all about making those initial steps towards respecting your customers, and this is something that will help you to get into the right frame of mind to foster an environment where customer privacy comes first.

Yes, complying with the General Data Protection Regulation legislation is difficult but it is something that is worth doing. Take this opportunity to review and revise your processes and put together an organizational structure that will encourage you and your employees to do things right, whether that means thinking about how you store data and what you store, thinking about what you collect from your customers, or thinking about how you communicate with them and what drives your marketing. It’s not going to be easy to bring your business into line with the GDPR if you have been doing things more casually for a long time, but it will make your business more sustainable, and make it look better for your customers, and your partners.

Are Your Qualified and Nonqualified Employee Benefit Plans in Compliance With the New ERISA Disability Claims Regulations?

Effective for cases filed after April 1, 2018, employee benefit strategies controlled by the Worker Retirement Earnings Safety Act (ERISA) have to follow the US Division of Labor’s brand-new disability insurance claims laws.

What do the new regulations call for?

The purpose of the new guidelines is to guarantee full and also fair insurance claims assess procedures for any type of decision whether a complaintant is “disabled” in regards to an ERISA plan.

In many aspects, these expanded requirements mirror the protections that were added by the Patient Defense and Affordable Care Act (ACA) for certain group health insurance plan claims, such as requirements to avoid disputes of passion, as well as to make sure that rejection notifications are delivered in a “culturally and also linguistically proper way.” The policies additionally take on the ACA requirement to notify plaintiffs if the strategy is based on a decision on any kind of proof or reasoning taken into consideration, trusted, or created by the claims manager (or at its instructions) during the pendency of the appeal, and to offer the plaintiff with enough time to respond before a damaging benefit resolution is made (although they do not embrace the ACA guideline automatically providing the strategy more time to render a decision in such instances).

In many areas, the demands for special needs insurance claims are much more onerous compared to the ACA group health plan demands. Rejection letters for disability claims need to consist of the following aspects that are not required for other ERISA plans:

  • a conversation of the decision, including a description of the basis for disagreeing with or not following: (1) the views provided by the complaintant of health care as well as vocational professionals that treated or assessed the claimant; (2) the views of medical or vocational experts whose guidance was aquired in support of the strategy in connection with a claimant’s adverse advantage determination; and (3) a special needs determination concerning the plaintiff made by the Social Safety And Security Management; as well as
  • either: (1) the certain internal policies, standards, procedures, requirements or other comparable standards of the strategy trusted in making the adverse advantage determination; or (2) a statement that such policies, standards, etc. do not exist. (Team health plans, in contrast, might instead specify that a rule, guideline, method or similar standard was trusted without defining its identification, and also supply a copy at no cost upon demand).

With respect to initial insurance claim denials, the notice should also consist of a declaration that the claimant is entitled to obtain, upon request and at no cost, reasonable access to and also copies of all papers, documents and also various other information appropriate to the claim.

Relative to appeal denials, the notice should include a description of any kind of plan-specific restrictions duration that relates to the plaintiff’s right to bring a civil action, consisting of the schedule date on which the legal constraints duration runs out for the claim.

Which fringe benefit strategies need to be updated for the brand-new disability cases policies?

All ERISA employee benefit plans that have issue upon a determination that a claimant is handicapped go through the brand-new regulations. Plan enrollers ought to be conscious that special needs resolutions may be part of any kind of type of ERISA fringe benefit plan, not just those giving long-term or short-term special needs benefits. Group health and wellness strategies often prolong insurance coverage beyond age 26 for grown-up kids that are handicapped, as well as life insurance policy plans that frequently offer a costs waiver for participants who are entirely disabled. Some certified as well as non-qualified retirement or delayed compensation strategies include special provisions for handicapped participants, such as accelerated vesting or early retirement choices.

Not all plans have an advantage on a complaintant’s disability, nonetheless, have to be changed in order to conform. For instance, where a plan does not provide for its own fiduciaries to make a resolution of handicap, however rather accepts the determination made by the manager of one more plan (like the company’s long-standing handicap plan) then only the terms of the various other plan should be changed. Examples include health insurance that expand eligibility, or postponed settlement strategies that give increased vesting, to claimants that are receiving benefits under the company’s long-term impairment plan or Social Security Impairment Insurance (SSDI).

Also if a strategy gives for its very own fiduciaries to make a resolution of disability, it may not need to be separately modified if the plan’s terms incorporate by referral the handicap insurance claims and also allures procedures of an additional plan that has been amended. In such situation, the strategy’s fiduciaries should adhere to the brand-new procedures, and to update the cases and appeals rejection notices to adhere to the brand-new guidelines.

In short, it is only those ERISA pre-preparations that condition an advantage upon a resolution that a complaintant is handicapped, where the strategy fiduciaries themselves have the discretionary authority to identify if an individual is impaired, and where the strategy includes its very own procedures for making such determinations, that need to be modified. Plans with this layout attribute and will likewise need to issue a Summary of Product Modifications (SMM) to inform participants of the changes, as well as modify their claims as well as allures notifications.

ERISA strategies that are not likely needed to earn modifications to comply with the brand-new regulations consist of:

  • those that do not condition any benefit upon a determination that a claimant is disabled
  • those that accept an impairment decision from an additional strategy or celebration, such as the employer’s long-term handicap strategy or the Social Safety And Security Management
  • those that incorporate by referral the cases as well as appeals procedures of an additional plan that has been updated

If a plan is affected by the new case regulations, what actions should intend enrollers take and by when?

  1. Identify which strategies are affected. The very first step is to take an inventory of your ERISA benefit strategies and also figure out whether the strategy: (1) conditions an advantage upon a resolution that a plaintiff is impaired; (2) provides that the plan fiduciaries themselves have discretionary authority to identify if a participant is disabled, or accepts the decision made by one more plan; (3) has its own procedures for making such decisions.
  2. Changes should be executed by the end of the strategy year, as well as SMMs describing the changes must to be distributed to individuals no later than 210 days after the end of the plan year. Strategies where the fiduciaries themselves make a decision of special needs could want to consider amending the strategy to approve the resolution of handicap by another plan (such as a long-term impairment plan) or the Social Safety Administration.
  3. Where the strategy fiduciaries themselves have discretionary authority to figure out if an individual is handicapped, they will require to make such resolutions in conformity with the brand-new treatments for all types of cases filed after April 1, and also need to guarantee that insurance claims allures denial notifications that have been updated to comply. Also where the strategy has actually passed on optional authority to an insurer or Third-Party Administrator (TPA) to make such resolutions and also problem denial letters, the insurance company or TPA could need to personalize their conventional notification templates to accommodate distinct stipulations of the company’s strategy.