Using comment letters and testimony ASPPA Government Affairs  responds to new legislation, proposed changes to existing regulations, and proposed new regulations. Any action that would change existing pension policy or affect the work of pension professionals is the object of ASPPA comments. In its role of closely monitoring legislative and regulatory actions, ASPPA directs its comments and testimony to appropriate agencies, clearly reflecting the stance of ASPPA and its members.

Legislative & Regulatory Updates

Fee Disclosure Requirements. On April 22, 2013, ASPPA filed comments with the Department of Labor requesting a one-time transitional realignment period for providing the “second round” of participant notices required under ERISA Reg. §2550.404a-5. Additionally, ASPPA has requested clarification of the meaning of the regulatory term “annually thereafter” and suggested that it include the ability to give the annual updated participant notice anytime during a calendar year provided that notice is never given more than 18 months since the prior notice. [Comment]

Tax Reform. On April 15, 2013, ASPPA, along with ACOPA, NAPA, NTSAA and CIKR, submitted comments to the House Ways and Means Committee’s Pensions and Retirement Tax Reform Working Group, one of 11 working groups established by the Committee to “review current law in their designated issue areas and then identify, research and compile feedback related to the topic of the working group.” [Comment][Proposals]

Roth Conversions. On February 26, 2013, ASPPA submitted comments to the Internal Revenue Service requesting that it issue guidance confirming that the 5-year period of participation required for a tax-free distribution from a Roth account that is created by an internal Roth conversion begins on the first day of the calendar year that contains the date of the conversion, or if earlier, the date of the first designated Roth contribution to the plan. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8, 112th Congress (2013)), expanded the availability of in-plan Roth conversions and increased the need for regulatory guidance. This letter is a supplement to ASPPA’s prior comment letter submitted on May 30, 2012. [Comment]

Ways and Means Hearing on Tax Reform and Tax-favored Accounts. On April 17, 2012, Judy Miller testified on behalf of ASPPA and its sister organizations at a Ways and Means Committee Hearing on Tax Reform and Tax-favored Accounts, [Written] [Oral]

Hearing: Senate Special Committee on Aging. On March 20, 2012, ASPPA submitted testimony for the record relating to the hearing held March 7 by the Senate Special Committee on Aging regarding “Opportunities for Savings: Removing Obstacles for Small Business”. The testimony challenges myths about the small plan marketplace and urges Congress to maintain a level playing field. [Testimony]

403(b) Prototype Plans. On January 23, 2012, NTSAA and ASPPA submitted comments to the Internal Revenue Service in support of the inclusion of 403(b) plans in the prototype program for pre-approved plan documents. IRS officials have recently indicated that budget concerns may result in a reexamination of whether to include 403(b) plan documents in the pre-approved plan program. NTSAA and ASPPA believe that a prototype program for 403(b) plans is essential for the proper administration of the tax laws and that it would be a mistake to abandon this integral component of 403(b) compliance.  [Comment]

Proposed Rule Relating to Benefit Determinations & Plan Valuations for Statutory Hybrid Plans. On December 30, 2011, ASPPA and ACOPA submitted comments to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) providing comments on the proposed rule relating to benefit determinations and plan valuations for statutory hybrid plans. ASPPA and ACOPA recommended that: (1) proposed regulations regarding §4022 be temporary, effective only for plan terminations occurring before the effective date of final Treasury regulations regarding market rate of return; and (2) PBGC should re-propose these rules in a manner that is consistent with the final Treasury regulations after the final market rate of return regulations are issued. [Comment]

IRS Form 8955-SSA Participant Notice Requirement. On December 20, 2011, ASPPA submitted comments to the Internal Revenue Service requesting clarification of the notice requirement with respect to separated participants who are listed on IRS Form 8955-SSA and its predecessor, Schedule SSA to Form 5500. [Comment]

Recommendation to Extend the Applicability Dates of the 408(b)(2) and 404(a) Regulations. On December 19, 2011, ASPPA and CIKR submitted comments to the Department of Labor recommending an extension of the applicability dates of the Department of Labor regulations issued under ERISA sections 404(a) and 408(b)(2).  [Comment]

Request to Eliminate Form 5558 Signature Requirement. On November 21, 2011, ASPPA sent a letter to the IRS requesting the elimination of the signature requirement when IRS Form 5558, Application for Extension of Time to File Certain Employee Plan Returns, is filed to extend the due date for filing Form 8955-SSA. ASPPA requested that the exception granted under Treasury Regulation 1.6081-11 for Form 5500 series reports be applied or expanded to include Form 8955-SSA. [Letter]

Request for Extension of Deadline for § 436 Plan Amendments. On November 10, 2011, ASPPA and the ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries sent a letter to IRS requesting that the deadline for amendments required to comply with IRC section 436 be extended to be concurrent with the recently extended deadline for certain hybrid plan amendments. [Letter]

Proposal for Self-Correction Methodology for Late Deposits of Elective Deferrals. On September 30, 2011, ASPPA submitted comments to the Department of Labor proposing modifications to its Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program as it applies to the late deposits of elective deferrals. [Comment]

ACOPA Plus Five Request Expanded Relief. On September 26, 2011, the ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries (ACOPA) joined five other organizations in requesting that PBGC expand relief for filing errors regarding election of the alternative premium funding target.  [Letter]

Tax Reform Options: Promoting Retirement Security. On September 15, 2011, Judy Miller, MSPA, ASPPA’s Director of Retirement Policy, testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee at a hearing regarding Tax Reform Options: Promoting Retirement Security. [Written Testimony] [Oral Testimony]

Data Security and Privacy. On September 1, 2011, Richard Carpenter, testified on behalf of ASPPA at an Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans hearing on data security and privacy issues. ASPPA filed a statement for the record with the Council that addressed these issues. [Statement]

Approval of Continuing Education Providers and Programs under Circular 230. On August 16, 2011, ASPPA, the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA) and the American Institute of Retirement Education (AIRE) submitted comments to the Internal Revenue Service regarding the procedures and standards for approval of continuing education providers and programs under Circular 230. [Comment]

ASPPA’s position on the issues is also available here: