Want Guidance?

By Judy Miller • March 15, 2017 • 0 Comments
We have a Treasury Secretary now. Someday soon, we probably will also have a Secretary of Labor. Until there are also some assistants in place – like those for tax policy at Treasury and for EBSA at DOL – those departments won’t be fully functional. 

Congress is shutting down DOL’s efforts to give states an advantage for state-run systems over private providers. There have also been executive orders to reduce regulation and to reconsider the fate of the fiduciary rule. 

If there can’t be a new regulation without removing two others, will we ever get any new guidance? Or is an amendment of an existing regulation not a new regulation? Is a Revenue Procedure a regulation? Who knows? 

We do know that the new administration is going to frown on guidance that imposes additional burdens on business, so I am hoping that means the massive additions to 5500 reporting proposed for 2019 should fall by the wayside. We still should get a Revenue Procedure offering more automatic approvals of changes in funding method – that will definitely reduce costs and burdens. Beyond that, I am as curious as anybody as to how we will be moving forward on the regulatory front.

ACOPA GAC did file the letter on the proposed amendment to the 417(e) regulations that I mentioned last month. It’s a good example of a regulation that may or may not be helpful, depending on how IRS and Treasury incorporate comments into the final product. If IRS makes it clear that a present value that does not use pre-retirement mortality is considered a “417(e)” present value for other purposes, such as the most valuable rule, and allows for bifurcation on SSLI options, then probably no harm done, and maybe some good. But if they do not accommodate our concerns, most of our members would prefer to see it on the administration’s regulatory trash heap. 

We want that Rev Proc on automatic approvals, and a good outcome on our remaining 412(d)(2) concerns, and there are still some other open 430 issues. Do we really want 404(o) guidance? We asked for guidance in a letter back in 2013 so we did, but more than three years have passed since then.

Do we want guidance? Absolutely. But only the helpful kind.