Do You Have Ideas About Retirement Proposals?

By Martella Joseph • February 05, 2016 • 0 Comments
Do you sometimes feel like you have spent your precious time performing tests that no longer seem relevant or meet an arbitrary deadline? Have you ever come across a nonsensical rule that continually trips up you or your staff and you think to yourself: “it would be so much easier if…”?

We all know that the rules associated with qualified retirement plans are complex, extensive, and impede some businesses from adopting a retirement plan for their employees. However, there is something we can — and are — doing about it.

The American Retirement Association’s Legislative Relations Committee (LRC) exists for the purpose of developing legislative proposals to simplify the administration — and improve the operation — of the plans that you work with every day. To that end, the LRC has developed more than 30 legislative proposals contained in a document, entitled “Proposals to Enhance the Private Retirement Plan System,” to make the system better, the latest iteration of which was released in December 2013. These proposals include:

  • allowing an employer to adopt a plan after the end of the year but before the tax filing due date;
  • creating a simple and reasonable framework for interim amendments;
  • permitting amendments to a safe harbor 401(k) plan in the middle of the year; and
  • allowing forfeitures to fund safe harbor contributions.
The good news is that this effort has had a real impact. Many of these proposals made it into federal legislation like Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) SAFE Act (S. 1270) and Rep. Richard Neal’s (D-Mass) Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act (H.R. 2117). This is a huge accomplishment, since these proposals now have official bipartisan buy-in and the legislative language codifying these proposals into law is on the shelf and ready to go when Congress next considers comprehensive retirement legislation. But we need to keep at it to ensure these proposals are enacted, as well as contemplate new ideas that would strengthen the system and increase the retirement security of American workers.

To that end, the LRC has now begun the process of updating these proposals to reflect the American Retirement Association’s most recent legislative priorities, with the goal of having a new document completed in time for the new Congress in 2017.

If you have thoughts about what the committee should be adding to (or deleting from) the proposals please send a note to Andrew Remo, who is the American Retirement Association staff liaison to the LRC. The committee looks forward to hearing from you and considering your ideas.

Martella Joseph, Chair of the GAC Legislative Relations Committee