Home » Our Blog » Fool Proof Your 401k Plan Today
back to the top

Fool Proof Your 401k Plan Today

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

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.

6 Compliance Changes to Check in 2017

6 Compliance Changes to Check in 2017

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

Compliance Deadlines and Issues to Watch in 2017

Employers can expect developments  in 2017 related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requirements and several other workplace regulations concerning compliance. Here’s a closer look.

 

  1. Fair Labor Standards Act

On Nov. 22, 2016, Judge Amos L. Mazzant III of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued an injunction delaying the effective date of the new overtime rule. The rule would have raised the minimum salary threshold for exempt executive, administrative and professional employees to $913 per week, from $455 per week and the minimum annual salary threshold for highly compensated employees to $134,004, from $100,000.

How long the injunction will remain in place – and the fate of the rule – is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, employers should adhere to current FLSA requirements and keep an eye out for the outcome of the Department of Labor’s current appeal.

 

  1. Affordable Care Act

Although the leadership in the House of Representatives currently is attempting to repeal ACA, for now, employers still remain responsible for all ACA tracking and reporting requirements. The deadline for issuing ACA forms 1095-B and -C to employees has been extended from Jan. 31, 2017 to March 2, 2017. However, the due date for filing ACA forms with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is unchanged. For 2016 tax year, applicable large employers must:

  • Submit paper forms 1094-B and -C and 1095-B and -C by Feb. 28, 2017

 

  • Submit electronic forms 1094-B and -C and 1095-B and -C by March 31, 2017

 

The IRS has extended the “good faith effort” penalty waiver to 2017. Employers who submit inaccurate or incomplete reporting information may be relieved from penalties, as long as they can show they made a “good faith effort” to comply with the ACA’s requirements.

Note that although the 40-percent “Cadillac” tax on high-cost employer health plans has been delayed until 2020, employers should consider assessing the impact of the tax on future business goals now. Once the impact is understood, a feasible strategy can be put in place.

 

  1. Equal Employment Opportunity Reporting

The EEOC has revised the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) to include collecting pay data from employers, including federal contractors, with over 100 employees.

Under the original proposal, employers would submit their annual EEO-1 report – which would include W-2 pay data and hours worked – to the Joint Reporting Committee by September 30 of each year. However, the EEOC has issued an updated proposal that would move the due date for the 2017 report from Sept. 30, 2017 to March 31, 2018. In subsequent years, the deadline will be March 31.

Be sure to monitor the revisions to the EEO-1 report, and prepare a strategy for implementation in case the changes are enacted.

 

  1. Citizenship and Immigration Services Reporting

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently updated Form I-9. After Jan. 21, 2017, employers must start using the new form.

 

  1. Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave

Many states, cities and counties have approved minimum wage increases and mandatory paid sick leave, some of which will take effect in 2017.

 

  1. Federal Contract Workers

The minimum wage for federal contract workers increases to $10.20 per hour Jan. 1, 2017. Certain federal contractors also must provide their employees with up to seven days of paid sick leave per year.

Staying ahead of potential and actual regulatory changes is easy with an HR and payroll system that generates the necessary forms and enables electronic filing to simplify reporting. It’s also important to partner with an HR technology provider who stays abreast of tentative regulatory matters and quickly updates their system accordingly, so that you have the right tools for any changes.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Accordingly, Paycom and the writer of the above content do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the above information. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, or professional consulting. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other professional services.


hlively

by Heidi Lively


Author Bio: Heidi Lively serves as Paycom’s Additional Business Manager, where she focuses on the compliance and service of additional business products. Previously, she served customers in the Paycom Service Department where she quickly rose through the ranks to earn a team leader position. Having performed in a leadership position for a number of years, Heidi has been able to cultivate and influence others through Paycom’s leadership initiatives. Heidi earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.

The Increasing Responsibility of CHROs Proving Strategic Value

The Increasing Responsibility of CHROS: Proving Strategic Value

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

The Increasing Responsibility of CHROS: Proving Strategic Value

Much has been written about HR’s emerging role as strategic business partner. But, a study involving over 100 directors reveal that executives still view HR as a highly transactional support function that usually does a great job with compensation and benefits – but not as an influential strategic player in the boardroom. Consequently, chief human resources officers (CHROs) must often demonstrate their value as a true strategic partner.

Executive Perceptions of HR and CHROs

According to the Harvard Business Review, research shows that although CEOs worldwide view HR as a top challenge, they rank HR as the eighth or ninth most critical aspect of an organization. A survey by People + Strategy and the National Association of Corporate Directors concluded that 71 percent of directors rank the CHRO as an excellent or good leader of the HR function. But, less than 31 percent reported that the CHRO has a good or great amount of influence on board decisions.

Interestingly, the CHRO is reportedly one of the top earners in the C-suite. The Harvard Business Review reported in 2014 that CEOs and COOs are the highest-paid executives. CHROs are next, earning an average annual base salary of $574,000. If salary ranking is any indication, the CHRO is an important aspect of operations.

Redefining the CHRO’s Role

The CFO’s role is defined by the board, external auditors, regulators and investment communities. This is not the case for CHROs, whose role typically is defined by the CEO. Therefore, CHROs must ensure that the CEO has a clear view of potential contributions this C-suite position is capable of making, such as:

  • Improving business outcomes through strategic HR management

Organizational performance largely depends on the fit between individuals and jobs. A poor fit can severely damage the bottom line, which the CHRO can prevent by identifying gaps in skills or behavior. A consistent collaboration with the CFO can ensure that assigned jobs, key performance indicators and budgets will produce desired results. Of particular value is a CHRO who is able to make meaningful predictions about the competition by examining established and potential competitors.

  • Evaluating problems

The CHRO is in a unique position to detect why the organization may not be meeting objectives or performance goals. Instead of hiring outside consultants, the CHRO, CEO and CFO should work together to examine underlying external factors – such as economic slumps or falling interest rates. The CHRO can link external factors data to the company’s social system – that is, how employees are behaving or how they’re working together – to uncover areas causing unnecessary friction.

More Transformational, Less Transactional

To reshape their board’s traditional view of HR, CHROs must become increasingly involved in planning efforts, for example:

  • Leverage technology to engage your people. By measuring performance and providing feedback, you can empower your colleagues with information and give them the opportunity to accomplish tasks.

 

  • Listen to your people and be prepared to develop strategies with the board that take action and resolve key problems. Surveying your people is a great method to show your employees that 1) you are listening and 2) you care.  However, if you are going to listen, be prepared to take action.

 

  • The CEO and C-suite succession process – from identifying and developing candidates, to choosing successors, to supporting the new executives.

 

Studies show that most CHROs have some work to do before their board views them as the top influential strategic partner. But, CHROs can make headway by exhibiting their value to the CEO and becoming advisors to the board.


craymond

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 new role as Paycom’s vice president of HR.

Three Must-have Conversations for the New Year

Three Must-have Conversations for the New Year

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

Three Must-have Conversations for the New Year

Everyone should consider having the following three conversations over the course of the next few weeks. Taking this time with your direct reports, yourself and your spouse will only improve the beginning of your new year.

  1. Speak With Your Squad

As for your direct reports, many individuals– especially millennials – need these types of exchanges in order to grow. This conversation with each team member should help set clear expectations for the next 12 months. Consider discussing the following with each of your employees:

  • What went well?
  • What were the pitfalls of your 2016?
  • What would have made 2016 more successful?
  • What are the new goals for 2017?
  • How can I help you be successful moving forward?

 

This isn’t a casual exchange, but a crucial one, for both you and your employees; so, bring notes, take notes and mentally prepare yourself to receive constructive feedback. In the words of Greek philosopher Epictetus, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” Each person involved in this conversation should make this dialogue matter.

As a manager, your role is not to predict the future, but to enable it so both you and your team can look forward to a successful trip around the sun.

  1. Talk to the Person in the Mirror

Your second conversation is with someone you know better than anyone else: yourself. Be sure to set aside some time for introspection, grab a coffee and your laptop and hold this self-interview with these eight questions.

  • What went well at work?
  • What went well at home?
  • What are my personal and professional 2017 goals?
  • How is my health, and is there room to improve?
  • How can I impact my local community positively?
  • Do I call my mom enough?

 

According to Albert Ellis, an American psychologist, the best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your challenges are your own. You do not place blame; but realize that you alone control your destiny.

  1. Consult Your Other Half

Our personal relationships have an effect on our work and it’s up to you whether or not your relationship is a positive or negative influence on your career. Once the kids are asleep, consider calling up these seven questions on your mobile device to help drive meaningful dialogue.

  • What are our 2017 emotional goals?
  • What are our 2017 financial goals?
  • What are our 2017 career goals?
  • What can I do to help support your career?
  • Here is what I need from you in terms of support for my career.
  • What changes should we make together in order to achieve our goals?
  • Are you happy? Am I happy? If not, what changes do we need to make?

 

The important takeaway is that you have an open, honest discussion with each other about your livelihoods. Are you pursing lofty aspirations and hobbies while your spouse pays all the bills, disciplines the kids and preps dinner every night? Is this a successful long-term plan?

In Conclusion

To paraphrase Aristotle, we simply are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. By taking the time to plan and reflect on these year-end conversations, you quickly will gain an education from 2016’s experiences and can use what you learn to change your habits in the coming year for the better.



Author Bio: A writer, speaker and young business leader, Jason has been the communications pulse for a number of organizations, including Paycom. A featured writer on human capital management technology, leadership and the Affordable Care Act, Jason launched Paycom’s blog and social media channels, helping empower organizations around the nation. Jason is attuned to the needs of businesses and recently 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.

Subscribe to Paycom's blog
X

Learn more about Paycom

  • Are you a current Paycom Client?

    Yes

    No

    • Talent Acquisition

    • Time & Labor Management

    • Payroll

    • Talent Management

    • HR Management

  • Subscribe me to Paycom's newsletter.

*Required

We promise never to sell, rent or share your personal information with a third party unless required by law. By submitting this form, you accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.