ERISA Roundup - Q3 2020


As we continue to navigate a new working environment, BDO’s ERISA Center of Excellence is committed to highlighting significant regulations and deadlines.

This past quarter we saw the DOL’s new rule on electronic disclosures come through as well as temporary relief for Safe Harbor Plans, RMD waivers and rollovers, and more. Also in this issue of our ERISA Roundup are helpful considerations if you missed a deadline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With immense changes to our personal and work lives, it is challenging to stay abreast of changes impacting your plans. You can always find up-to-date industry insights at


Beth Garner


Addressing Missed 401(k) Plan Deadlines During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has put many extra burdens on 401(k) plan sponsors. In addition to navigating all of the uncertainty related to the economy and workplace safety, plan sponsors have had to keep an eye on regular retirement plan procedures and deadlines.


Labor Department Introduces Revised Fiduciary Investment Advice Exemption

The ongoing saga about fiduciary standards for advice related to retirement assets has a new chapter that plan sponsors need to be aware of. 


Lawsuits Serve as Warning to DB Plans: Review Your Actuarial Assumptions

Increases in life expectancy resulting from medical advancements and better health habits are generally viewed as a sign of progress for society. But for defined benefit plans that haven’t updated the assumptions used to determine payouts to participants, increasing life expectancy could lead to an increasing risk of being sued.


ESOP Valuation Considerations During Times of Uncertainty

Crises like the coronavirus pandemic can cause significant challenges for administrators and trustees when valuing employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). 


During an Economic Downturn: Review Plan Design and Expenses to Protect Cash Flow

Managing cash flow is an ongoing priority for any business. Protecting an organization’s cash flow in times of economic distress is paramount. To retain liquidity in the short term, many organizations are examining their retirement plans for flexibility in cash outflows.


DOL Finalizes Rule on Electronic Disclosure of Retirement Plan Documents

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently finalized a rule that makes it easier for plan sponsors to use email and internet websites to deliver certain retirement plan disclosures or other documents to plan participants.


IRS Delivers Temporary Midyear Relief to 401(k) and 403(b) Safe Harbor Plans

Plan sponsors that have already or are considering reducing or suspending contributions to their safe harbor 401(k) or 403(b) plans as a result of the coronavirus pandemic now have helpful relief thanks to new guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 


IRS Extends Relief for 2020 RMD Waivers and Rollovers

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted on March 27, 2020, waived required minimum distributions (RMDs) from tax-qualified defined contribution retirement plans (such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans) and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) that were otherwise due in 2020 to help Americans cope with the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Simplified Calculations for Disallowed Deductions for IRC 132(f) Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits

Qualified transportation fringe (QTF) benefits under Internal Revenue Code Section 132(f) are transit passes, transportation in commuter highway vehicles and qualified parking (or a combination thereof) provided by an employer to an employee.


Navigating Defined Benefit Plan Funding Issues Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Even before the COVID-19 crisis struck, pension plans were bracing for major funding challenges heading into 2021. Funding relief for pension plans in the form of interest rate stabilization was scheduled to begin phasing out that year.


How Furloughs and Layoffs May Affect Company Retirement Plans

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many employers to implement some form of workforce reduction to continue operating.



October 2020

October 26: File PBGC Form 200 by Oct. 26, if plan sponsor of a single-employer defined benefit plan does not make the Oct. 15 required contribution, causing the plan to have more than $1 million in unpaid contributions.

November 2020

November 16: File PBGC Form 10 by Nov. 16, Post-Event Notice of Reportable Events for single-employer defined benefit plans

December 2020

December 1: Annual Participant notices must be distributed by Dec. 1. These include: 401(k) safe harbor, annual automatic contribution and qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) notices.
December 15: Dec. 15 is the extended deadline to distribute Summary Annual Report (SAR) for calendar year plans.
December 31: By Dec. 31, process corrective distributions for failed ADP/ACP testing; a 10 percent excise tax may apply.

View All Deadlines and Important Dates


In addition to those important deadlines and dates, plan sponsors should be aware of the contribution plan limits and other rolling notices for 2020:

  • Employee salary deferral limits for 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans will be $19,500. Age 50 catch-up contribution limit increases to $6,500.

  • Health Savings Account contribution limit is $3,550 (single) and $7,100 (family). Age 55 catch-up contribution stays at $1,000.

  • Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Account contribution limit will be $6,500. catch-up contributions for participants age 50 and over is $1,000.

  • Limitation for the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(A) will be $230,000.

  • The dollar amount used to define “highly compensated employee” under Section 414(q)(1)(B) will be $130,000.

  • Newly eligible employees must receive a Summary Plan Description (SPD) within 90 days.

  • Provide quarterly statements and fee information to participants.

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