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Fool Proof Your 401k Plan Today

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The harsh reality is you may pay more in fees than what is in your retirement! This is the unfortunate reality many are facing, as the Department of Labor estimates 77 percent of 401k plans are out of compliance. To be deemed “qualified,” a 401k plan must satisfy the requirements listed under the Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a). If a plan fails to meet these requirements, then the plan is deemed “disqualified” and favorable tax benefits may be lost.

To avoid these losses and extra fees, 401k retirement plans should be reviewed every year. Use this informal checklist as a means to keep you compliant.

  1. Does your plan reflect recent changes?

A 401k plan must be supported by a formal written document that complies with the Internal Revenue Code. Anytime there is a change, the written document must be amended to reflect the most recent change. Generally, the IRS establishes a deadline by which all changes must be adopted. This requirement applies to all 401k plans for as long as assets remain in the plan. To stay up-to-date on any changes you may review the Notice 2013-84. To avoid any mistakes moving forward consider using a calendar noting when changes must be complete. Review your document annually and always keep constant contact with the company that sold you the plan.

  1. Do the plan’s operations adequately follow the terms of the plan?

Failure to comply with the plan’s terms is the most common mistake revealed during an audit. The most important thing to remember here is that although the employer is responsible for keeping the plan in compliance there may actually be many others servicing your plan. If that is the case, everyone should be aware of any changes made to your plan, whether that is modifications to how you operate your plan or changes made to plan trustees. Developing a communication plan can help keep all fiduciary partners reliable.

  1. Do you use the proper definition of compensation for all deferrals and allocations?

You may use different definitions of compensation for different purposes so it is important that you use the proper definition for deferrals, allocations and testing. According to the IRS, a plan’s compensation definition must satisfy rules for determining the amount of contributions. One such rule is that the amount of compensation under the plan can’t exceed $260,000 in 2014 (subject to cost-of-living adjustments in later years.) The best practice to ensure definitions are followed is to perform an annual review of compensation definitions and also make sure whomever is in charge or determining compensation is properly trained, and that align with your own providers definitions.

  1. Were terms followed with regards to employer matching contributions?

Make sure that what you say you will do, you do. Review the plan document to determine the employee eligibility requirements and matching contribution formula and make sure that is congruent with operations. If need be, contact your plan administrators to ensure they have adequate payroll records to make the proper calculations.

  1. Could your plan pass the Actual Deferral Percentage/Actual Contribution Percentage nondiscrimination tests?

Every 401k plan, with the exception of certain auto enrollment and 401k safe harbor plans, must satisfy the annual ADP/AFC nondiscrimination tests. These tests ensure that contributions for less highly compensated employees are proportional to contributions made for owners and managers (highly compensated employees). For more information on what these tests actually determine, see page 25 of this 401k Plan Guide provided by the IRS. Make sure you are communicating with plan administrators about proper employee classifications to stay compliant with plan terms. In most cases, to avoid testing, you may consider a safe harbor or auto enrollment plan.

  1. Did you mistakenly exclude an eligible employee from making a deferral?

In the case of elective deferrals, don’t assume you know who is eligible and not. Rather, treat each employee who receives a W-2 as eligible unless determined otherwise by plan terms. If you do make this mistake; however, make a qualified non-elective contribution in order to compensate employees for the missed deferral opportunity. To avoid this, monitor census information and apply participation requirements.

  1. Are elective deferrals limited to the amount specified under IRC 402(g) for the calendar year?

IRC 402(g) indicates limits for elective deferrals plan participants can exclude from taxable income in a calendar year. This limit under section 402(g) is $17,500 for 2014. Make sure to inspect deferral amounts of plan participants to ensure deferral limits aren’t exceeded. Failure to distribute deferrals in excess of the limit may result in additional taxes and penalties for both the employer and participant.

  1. Are employee elective deferrals deposited in a timely manner?

Make sure you know the earliest date you can segregate deferrals from general assets and compare that date with the actual deposit date to ensure you don’t miss a deadline. If you miss the deadline for contributing participant deferrals to the plan trust you may have to pay an excise tax – determined by the amount involved in the transaction. The initial tax is 15 percent on the amount involved, but if the transaction goes unpaid an additional tax of 100 percent of the amount may be due. As soon as you can deposit deferrals you should, and in no event should the deposit be later than the 15th business day of the following month, or 7 business days after payroll for plans with less than 100 participants.

  1. Do participant loans conform to the requirements of the plan and IRC Section 72(p)?

Many 401k plans permit loans to participants. Before allowing participants to borrow money from the plan, be sure your plan document allows for this type of transaction. Be sure to review the plan document and all outstanding loans to ensure employees are repaying their loans in a timely manner. Make sure you have procedures in place to prevent loans that are prohibited transactions and ensure plan provisions on loans are being followed. Violations may be treated as taxable distribution to the participant. Also, ensure your plan document explains who is responsible for collecting delinquent loan payments.

  1. Were plan terms followed with regards to hardship distributions?

Because life happens, a 401k plan may allow employees to receive hardship distribution due to immediate financial need. According to law, a hardship distribution may be made because of:

  • Medical care expenses incurred by the employee, employee’s spouse or dependents;
  • costs directly related to the purchase of a principal residence (excluding mortgage payments);
  • payment of tuition, related educational fees and room and board expenses for the next 12 months of post-secondary education for the employee, employee’s spouse, children or dependents ;
  • payments necessary to prevent eviction from an employee’s residence or foreclosure on that residence;
  • funeral expenses and
  • certain expenses relating to the repair of damage to an employee’s residence.

Be sure you are constantly amending the plan to allow for hardship distributions and make sure you understand the provisions aligned in the plan document and follow them through in operation.

If you can answer no to any of the questions above your 401k plan may not be in compliance. Granted this list is only a guideline to a more compliant plan, just because you answered yes to all these questions does not automatically make your plan 100 percent compliant. For complete ease of mind, be sure to contact your advisor.



Author Bio: As a Human Resource Professional with over 20 years of experience, Jenny has extensive experience in management, mentoring, policy development and recruiting. Jenny's team player mentality and leadership abilities make her an elite HR Director who is always on top of the latest HR trends. She relentlessly directs associates and executives to achieve their maximum potential for both themselves and their companies.

WOTC Tax Credits

What Tax Credits Are You Leaving on the Table?

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Federal tax credits for businesses are far from easy if you aren’t familiar with the program, and business leaders may find themselves in unfamiliar territory when it comes to their company’s eligibility for tax credits. As a leading provider of comprehensive human capital management software, we have found that the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is one Federal tax credit many leaders underutilize, meaning that they are leaving money on the table when it comes time to do their taxes.

In fact, one Paycom client in the fast-food industry found $447,000 in government-appropriated funds available once they took full advantage of the tax credits available to them. Read more about this client’s experience in our recent case study.

Is your organization is leaving money on the table?

The Purpose of WOTC

WOTC was designed to encourage employers to hire people from segments of the general population who have “consistently faced barriers to employment.”

On average, one in eight new hires potentially qualifies for the WOTC, and that number increases when it comes to the fast-food industry, in which one in four new hires is potentially eligible for the credit.

What WOTC Means for Your Company

Depending on which target group your new hire represents, the number of hours they work and the wages they earn determine the amount of the credit, you can receive up to $9,600 for each eligible new hire.

Like the client in our case study, you may find, that many of the people in your hiring pool are already eligible for the tax credit. They received an average of $1,128 per certified employee.

Who You Can Hire

Qualifying new hires can be full- or part-time workers. They must belong to specific “target groups” designated by the U.S. Department of Labor. These target groups are populations of people who are able and willing to work, but have found barriers to employment for a variety of reasons. Target groups include:

  • veterans
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients
  • SNAP recipients
  • designated community residents (living in empowerment zones or rural renewal counties)
  • summer youth employees living in designated communities
  • long-term unemployed

 

 How You Can Receive These Tax Credits

To receive these tax credits, 8850 and 9061 forms must be completed on or before the job offer and sent to your state employment agency within 28 days of the employee’s first day of work. The client in our case study was able to save 75 hours (nearly two weeks of work!) by working with Paycom to process their available tax credits.

If you’re intimidated by or unaware of Work Opportunity Tax Credits, you’re not alone. But you might be missing out by leaving money on the table. Paycom clients using its tax credits service pay nothing for the search if they are found to have eligible employees. Want to learn more about WOTC? Sign up for our August 3 webinar “What’s New With WOTC” to learn the most up-to-date information on WOTC and ask questions specific to your business.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Featured, Franchises, Hospitality, Restaurant

Rich Stupansky

by Rich Stupansky


Author Bio: Rich came to Paycom in January of 2010 from Cleveland Ohio and is the Director of Tax Credits at Paycom. Rich was instrumental in developing and creating our tax credits program. Rich has more than 12 years’ experience with federal tax credits and an extensive background in working with companies of all sizes to maximize their full tax credit potential.

Orientation

Orientation or Onboarding: Does It Matter?

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“Onboarding” and “orientation” are buzzwords you’ll see thrown around a lot in discussions on human capital management (HCM), and with good reason: It’s a costly investment to hire the right person for a valuable position, and it’s important to ensure that your new hires feel valued and engaged so that they can remain a contributing member of your team.

What can you do to ensure that your new hires become quality employees? A good place to start is figuring out the distinction between onboarding and orientation. Orientation should be part of your onboarding plan, but it shouldn’t be the sum total of it.

“Orientation” refers to the brief period during which a new hire receives all-employee training and information (often in a classroom setting) and fills out the required paperwork. “Onboarding,” however, is a way to ensure the long-term success of a new hire, and often lasts between six months and a year.

Making strategic use of your HCM technology can streamline your orientation process, but it also can significantly improve your onboarding process, helping you retain and engage new hires. We explore this concept in our white paper, 4 Ways Your HCM Technology Should Enhance Your Onboarding Processes.

Robust HCM technology can help you improve engagement and retention of new hires, plugging them into your company culture and giving them the opportunity to start doing real work sooner.

Improving Employee Engagement From the Beginning

Utilizing HCM technology during onboarding gives you unparalleled opportunities to improve engagement and retention of your new hires. A study by the Brandon Hall Group found that 54% of companies that invested time and resources into their onboarding processes noted improved turnover, improved attendance, productivity and satisfaction. (And 78% of the companies in the study saw an increase in revenue!)

Making the onboarding process simpler is one way to improve the engagement of new hires. Using a true single-application HCM system, for example, will allow your new hires to complete important paperwork for taxes and benefits efficiently.

Onboarding Beyond Orientation to Promote Success

The first few months of your new employees’ time at your organization are crucial for their long-term success and even for their retention at your organization. Almost a third of new hires look for a new job at the six-month mark, so what can you do to keep your valuable new team members?

A strategic onboarding program can help your new hires become increasingly more comfortable with and invested in your company. Having training and time-management capabilities in the same HCM system that your new hires already have become familiar with minimizes onboarding strain on your new hires (and on your HR department). A new employee typically takes about eight months to reach his or her full productivity level, according to research from the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey. Anything you can do to help them get up to speed more quickly, particularly in those crucial first several months, will allow them to become more productive and more engaged employees, which contributes to an enhanced employee experience. 

One of the main benefits of a robust HCM system is that new hires are able to start actively contributing to your organization more quickly.

To know more ways your HCM tech can improve your onboarding processes, and in turn improve your retention and productivity of new hires, download our white paper.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured

Chad Raymond

by Chad Raymond


Author Bio: With over 19 years of experience in employee engagement, benefits administration and government compliance, Chad has unparalleled knowledge in the fields of leadership and human resources. Chad has worked in several different capacities with Paycom including leading our product development team and HCM initiatives as well as the former director of Paycom’s service department. Chad’s vision and execution helped empower executives and their teams to reach their full potential, ultimately leading to his role as Paycom’s vice president of HR.

Break Down Silos

How to Break Down Silos: A U.S. Military Formula for Today’s Business Execs

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Some business leaders find that “silos” develop within their organization, where departments do not communicate effectively with one another, hindering efficiency (particularly in interdepartmental goals and projects). Implementing interdisciplinary task forces when appropriate can give your organization the agility necessary to innovate and respond to external challenges.

In Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey, just 11% of survey respondents stated that they understood how to build “the organization of the future.” Deloitte notes that one key element of a forward-facing organization is an emphasis on successfully implemented interdisciplinary teams.

A focus on this interdisciplinary teamwork doesn’t require moving away from a traditional business model, but it does allow increased agility and efficiency by encouraging interdepartmental cooperation, no matter the size of your organization

Deloitte refers to the United States Department of Defense (DOD) as one organization that makes excellent use of its teams. With over 7 million personnel in total, the U.S. military has developed agile teams based on thorough information about employee skills and experience – no small feat for an organization of that size!

Whether you have 70 employees or 7 million, you can prevent the silo effect and improve your organization’s efficiency and agility by taking a cue from the U.S. military’s successful team-based structure.

Tracking Employee Skills and Experience

The U.S. DOD keeps detailed record of the skills and specialties of each member, including a history of their service and any relevant non-DOD skills. Levels of experience, responsibility and authority are recorded in a way that everyone in the organization recognizes.

Because of this, the DOD is able to coordinate agile teams based on a particular assignment or project. These teams achieve highly targeted goals. Once a deployment or another project is completed, these teams can be re-formed or new teams can be developed relatively easily because of the detailed data.

Creating Agile Teams for Specific Goals

It’s important to know what skill sets and experience are available within your employee pool in order to make and break teams quickly. And because the teams the DOD creates are based on experience and expertise, they can work to accomplish very specific goals.

One key element of the DOD’s creating, disbanding and re-creating of teams is job security. Military personnel know that if they are assigned to a team or project, they will not lose their jobs once that project is over. Instead, they will be added to another team where their insight and experience can make an impact.

This creates an agility to the DOD organizational structure that rarely is paralleled in the business world.

Applying This to Your Business

What does this mean for your business? For starters, the success of the DOD’s team-based organization demonstrates that interdisciplinary teams can be used effectively, even in a very large organization.

Their teamwork is enabled by up-to-date, robust information on employee skills and experience to allow the creation of the right teams to solve specific problems. Often these are project-based teams that may reform or disband after the completion of the project while maintaining job security.

Having a reliable record of the skills and experience of your employees gives you the flexibility to put the right people to work solving a problem, even if they don’t typically work together. In a quickly changing business world, looking to the U.S. Department of Defense as an example of successful interdepartmental teamwork can help your organization find more agile and effective solutions to the challenges you face.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Leadership, Talent Management


Author Bio: A writer, speaker and business leader, Jason has been the communications pulse for a number of organizations, including Paycom where he is the director of public relations and corporate communications. A featured writer on human capital management technology, leadership and the Affordable Care Act, Jason launched Paycom’s blog, webinar platform and social media channels, helping empower organizations around the nation. Jason is attuned to the needs of businesses and helped develop a tool to aid organizations in their pursuit to comply with the ACA; one of the largest changes in healthcare the country has seen. While working in athletics for ESPN and FoxSports, Jason learned the importance of hard work and branding. In his free time he enjoys adventuring with his family, reading and exploring new areas to strengthen his business acumen.

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