HSE LEGALcurrents

Planning Ahead for 2017

With the end of the calendar year drawing near, this is a good time for employers to conduct a year-end review to make sure their benefit plans are up-to-date and operating in compliance with the law. In addition, the end of the year brings a number of important deadlines. To assist you with your year-end projects, this newsletter provides a summary of some important dates and new developments.

Important Reminders for 2016

  • Some (but not all) of the benefit limits will increase for 2017, so your payroll and recordkeeping systems will need to be updated. A table setting forth the 2016 and 2017 IRS limits appears at the end of this newsletter.
  • If you have participant-directed investments and utilize a “Qualified Default Investment Alternative” (“QDIA”) for “default” investments, you should provide your default investment informational notice by December 1, 2016 if you have a calendar year plan year. Your plan recordkeeper generally will assist you in preparing the notice and coordinating its distribution.
  • Participant-directed defined contribution plans must provide annual notices regarding plan expenses and investments. Plans should be sure they have met that obligation; the deadline will vary depending on the timing the plan has established. Disclosures must be provided no more than 14 months after the previous year’s fee disclosure.
  • If you have a “safe harbor” 401(k) or 403(b) plan or want to adopt a safe harbor structure for 2017, you must provide your annual notice by December 1, 2016 if you have a calendar year plan year. This applies regardless of whether you are using a traditional safe harbor or an automatic enrollment safe harbor. Make sure the notice includes a warning that the employer retains the right to reduce or eliminate safe harbor contributions, in order to preserve this ability for you if you need it.
  • If you have an automatic enrollment 401(k) or 403(b) plan, regardless of whether it is a “safe harbor” plan, you must provide your automatic enrollment annual notice by December 1, 2016 if you have a calendar year plan year.

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