Posts made in November 2018

Year End For Plan Sponsors

Sheri A. Creger, CPFA  Ι  November 28, 2018

As the year draws to a close there are many things that a Plan Sponsor providing a 401k plan needs to ensure they are doing in order to adhere to regulatory legislative requirements.

One place to start is to confirm that all plan participant notices have been sent. Notices to all plan participants are required to be sent annually for transparency and disclosure purposes. Depending upon your plan you may have different types of notices but most of the 401(k) and 403(b) plan sponsors are responsible for the following notices; Summary Plan Description (SPD) and Summary of Material Modifications, Automatic Enrollment, Qualified Default Investment Arrangement Updates, Fee Disclosure, Safe Harbor, Summary Annual Report.

The Plan Sponsor must also ensure that they are maintaining updated mailing information, tracking delivery dates, and confirming receipts of participant notices.

Review your plan documents and make sure that they are kept current and adhere to current laws and regulations. You must also ensure that ALL of your amendments are properly signed and that any of your third-party administrators such as your TPA and/or record keeper have the updated documentation. Your TPA needs to know what has transpired during the year. Not only do they need the updated documents, but they also need the updated employee record information such as hire/terminations/rehire/birth date etc.

Prior to filing your Form 5500, make sure to carefully review your submission and form once completed prior to filing.

Plan Sponsors that are required to maintain an ERISA bond need to ensure that they are meeting the fiduciary requirements of the policy. Although not required, having fiduciary liability insurance for the fiduciaries is a good practice. If you don’t have it this would be a good time to look into it and if you do have fiduciary liability insurance this would be a good time to review your current policy.

Too many times we have seen Plan Sponsors neglect their annual review of their 401(k) plans and then run into future problems that could have been prevented. We can help you! We can serve as your “delegated” ERISA 3(16) Fiduciary Administrator and ensure the proper administration of your 401(k) plan. Click on “Meet Your New BFF®”above to find out how we can help you.


Alert – The IRS has Announced Retirement Plan Limits for 2019

The IRS announced cost-of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement related limitations for 2019, see Notice 2018-83. Most limits experienced modest increases with a few remaining at the same level. Notably, the IRA limit is higher by $500, now at $6,000, the last increase to IRA amounts was in 2013. Salary deferral contribution amounts to 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans are also up to $19,000.

Below is a summary of the announced adjustments*

Limitations 2019 2018
Elective deferral limit for 401(k), Roth 401(k), 403(b), Roth 403(b), & 457 Plans $19,000 $18,500
Catch-up contribution limit for 401(k), Roth 401(k), 403(b), Roth 403(b), & 457 Plans $6,000 $6,000
Elective deferral limit for SIMPLE IRA Plans $13,000 $12,500
Catch-up contribution limit for SIMPLE IRA Plans $3,000 $3,000
Annual limit for defined contribution plans $56,000 $55,000
Annual limit to SEP IRA Plans $56,000 $55,000
Maximum plan compensation for retirement plan purposes $280,000 $275,000
Annual benefit limit for defined benefit plans $225,000 $220,000
Threshold amount for definition of a highly compensated employee $125,000 $120,000
Threshold amount for definition of a key employee in top heavy plans $180,000 $175,000
SEP IRA compensation threshold for eligibility $600 $600
Social Security Taxable Wage Base $132,900 $128,400
IRA or Roth IRA contribution limit $6,000 $5,500
Catch-up contribution limit for IRA or Roth IRA $1,000 $1,000
IRA Deduction phase-out limit for active plan participants starts at:
Single $64,000 $63,000
Married Filing Jointly $103,000 $101,000
Married Filing Jointly and one spouse is covered by a plan $193,000 $189,000
Roth IRA contribution phase-out limit starts at:
Single $122,000 $120,000
Married Filing Jointly $193,000 $189,000

*This summary is designed to provide an overview of the dollar limitations for retirement plans applicable in 2019 and is not comprehensive.  It is intended for general information only and is believed to be accurate and reliable as of posting date but may be subject to changes.  Benefits Functional Fiduciaries Inc. does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice.  Individuals should seek services from the appropriate tax and legal professionals as to how this information will apply to them under their individual circumstances.


Credit: iStock/egal

Ginger Galloway, SPHR, MBA | November 7, 2018

Part Two of a Two-Part Series

As the holiday season approaches, it is amazing how fast time flies.  You should be well into planning and beginning implementation of year-end.  HR manages so many things at year-end.  Below is a list of some of the important year-end activities for benefits, compensation, and other compliance issues.  Last month, we reviewed planning and payroll year-end activities.

An important aspect of year-end is preparing a project plan.  Project management software can help you but all you really need is a checklist.  Build in all the steps for a task, timing to complete and who is responsible for it.  If you have a team, make sure you start reviewing the plan weekly with them then change to several times a week as action items due come closer.  If you don’t have a team and you are handing year-end solo, indicate updates to yourself on the checklist and set reminders on your calendar.

Also make sure to build in checks and balances.  Depending on your role, you should keep others updated that have an interest in ensuring year-end activities are completed successfully.  Involve the accounting manager and keep the CEO updated with high-level information on a schedule that she or he wants.

Some year-end activities for benefits, compensation and other compliance issues are below.  If open enrollment or pay increases are handled at a different time of year, please adjust accordingly and set up separate checklists and reminders for the applicable timing.


  • Spot check open enrollment elections and changes, especially deductions, in payroll.
  • Ask employees to verify and update beneficiary information.
  • Ensure child dependents are removed from insurance if they are older than 26 years.
  • Run reports to verify PTO or vacation balances to ensure what amount can be carried over.
  • Ensure all ACA requirements are verified and completed.
  • Ensure health care cost coverage will display on W-2s.


  • Ensure current FLSA classifications are still correct.
  • Plan, schedule and conduct merit increase process.
  • If you have pay grades, review them to see if they need to be adjusted.
  • Calculate minimum salary requirements for exempt status and process any necessary pay adjustments or change affected employees to non-exempt.
  • Calculate and schedule payment of any bonuses earned.

Other Compliance

  • Ensure updated employment posters are ordered and posted in visible location at all offices and work locations.
  • Distribute any year-end notices.
  • Ensure employees sign an employee handbook acknowledgement once handbook is updated for the new year.

Happy year-end planning and implementation.  May everything go smoothly, and you can enjoy your December and January in your own way.