Comment Letters

Comment Letters Archive

Most Recent Comment Letters:

On July 18, 2017, the ARA Government Affairs Committee filed comments with the Department of Labor (DOL) with regard to a Request for Information with respect to the Definition of Fiduciary regulation and related prohibited transaction exemptions. In the letter, ARA recommended a further extension of the January 1, 2018,  Applicability Date for certain provisions in the Best Interest Contract Exemption. The letter also recommended that the DOL consider a new streamlined “Levelized Fee” prohibited transaction exemption. [Letter]

On June 22, 2017, the ASPPA/ARA Government Affairs Committee submitted a comment letter to the Department of Labor requesting interpretative guidance with respect to the obligation of a covered service provider to disclose a change in the information required to be provided under ERISA Section 408(b)(2) as a result of the June 9, 2017, applicability date for the Fiduciary Rule and related prohibited transaction exemptions (collectively, the “Rule”). The ongoing review of the Rule by the DOL has caused a great deal of uncertainty among plan sponsors and providers. ARA recommends that the Department issue guidance acknowledging that the review of the Rule coupled with the potential for significant change constitute “extraordinary circumstances beyond the covered service provider’s control” which would qualify for relief under ERISA Regulation §2550.408b-2(c)(1)(v)(B)(1). Additional recommendations are also provided. [Comment Letter]

On June 20, 2017, the American Retirement Association filed a comment letter with recommendations on items to be included in the 2017-2018 IRS guidance plan. The letter was in response to IRS Notice 2017-28. [Letter]

On June 8, 2017, the ARA Government Affairs Committee filed comments with the IRS recommending additional guidance be provided with regard to mid-year amendments to safe harbor 401(k) and 403(b) plans. The letter was in response to a request for comments made by the IRS in IRS Notice 2016-16. [Letter]

On April 17, 2017, the American Retirement Association filed a letter with the Department of labor in response to a request for comment with respect to the Conflict of Interest Regulation and related exemptions. [Letter]

On March 15, 2017, the American Retirement Association Government Affairs Committee filed comments with the Department of Labor regarding a proposed regulation to extend the applicability date for the “Conflicted Advice’ regulation by 60 days. ARA GAC recommended extending the applicability date until January 1, 2018, to give the Department sufficient time to consider additional public comment with respect to its examination of the regulation pursuant to the President’s February 3, 2017 directive. [Letter]


On December 2, 2016, the American Retirement Association Government Affairs Committee filed comments with the Internal Revenue Service providing recommendations with respect to the documentation needed to substantiate a hardship distribution or participant loan. [Letter]

On December1, 2016, the American Retirement Association Government Affairs Committee filed a comment letter in response to a request for comments on the proposal to modernize and improve Form 5500 (“Proposal”) made by the Department of Labor (“DOL”), Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) (collectively, “Agencies”). The comment letter noted that the ARA is concerned that the Proposal significantly underestimates the cost and burden to comply with the reporting requirements and that there is insufficient time to make the technology and procedural updates required for the proposed 2019 plan year effective date. In addition, the ARA recommended that the Agencies hold a public hearing and provide additional time to survey and get input from affected parties. [Letter]

On November 21, 2016, the American Retirement Association Government Affairs Committee filed a comment letter with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The letter was in a response to a proposal to amend and expand the PBGC program to hold retirement benefits for missing participants and beneficiaries. [Letter]

On October 11, 2016, the American Retirement Association requested relief for taxpayers, plan sponsors and service providers adversely affected by Hurricane Matthew. [Letter]

On September 27, 2016, the American Retirement Association Government Affairs Committee filed a comment letter in response to a proposed regulation promulgated by the Department of Labor that would expand the non-ERISA safe harbor to payroll deduction savings arrangements mandated by the laws of certain political subdivisions within a state. ARA GAC recommended against expanding the safe harbor because of the complexity that would result if political subdivisions were included. ARA GAC recommended that time be given for states to move forward under the recently finalized regulation that accorded the safe harbor to certain state mandated programs. [Letter]

On September 14, 2016, the American Retirement Association Government Affairs Committee filed an initial comment letter with the IRS, DOL and PBGC regarding the Agencies’ joint proposal regarding changes to Form 5500 and the related schedules. In the comment letter, ARA GAC requested an extension of the comment period by 105 days, a delay in the effective date of the proposal and that a public hearing be held once the written comment period ends. [Letter]

On June 7, 2016, the American Retirement Association Government Affairs Committee, in response to IRS Notice 2016-26, filed a comment letter providing recommendations to the IRS and Treasury Department with respect to items that should be included in the 2016-2017 Priority Guidance Plan. [Letter]

On May 31, 2016, the American Retirement Association submitted comments to the Internal Revenue Service with respect to the proposed compliance questions for the 2016 Form 5500 series. The letter recommended that the effective date for the mandatory collection of information solicited by the new compliance questions be delayed to coincide with the proposed Department of Labor Form 5500 revisions expected for the 2018 or 2019 plan year forms. In addition, the letter recommended that the mandatory collection of the plan trust’s EIN be delayed for at least the next two plan years so as to provide time for plan sponsors to determine whether a trust EIN has been deactivated by the IRS or apply for an EIN. [Letter]

On May 16, 2016, the American Retirement Association submitted comments to the Internal Revenue Service with respect to additional guidance that is needed with regard to mid-year amendments made to safe harbor 401(k) and 403(b) plans. The letter was filed in response to IRS Notice 2016-16 which specifically requested comments from interested parties on this issue. [Letter]

On April 28, 2016, the American Retirement Association submitted comments on the proposed regulation regarding Nondiscrimination Relief for Closed Defined Benefit pension Plans and Additional Changes to the Retirement Plan Nondiscrimination Requirements. The letter thanks IRS for the withdrawal of the portion of the proposal that would have imposed a “reasonable classification” requirements on rate group testing relying on the average benefits percentage test and requests 401(a)(26) relief and more detail on application of ACP rules. [Letter]

On February 23, 2016, the American Retirement Association (ARA) filed a comment letter with the IRS suggesting enhancements that can be made to the IRS pre-approved plan program for plans subject to IRC §401(a) or § 403(b). the letter also requested a meeting to discuss the ARA recommendations. [Letter]

On February 22, 2016, the American Retirement Association (ARA) filed a comment letter with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with respect to the new compliance questions to be added to the From 5500, potentially for the 2016 plan year reports. In the letter, the ARA requested a meeting with the IRS to collaborate on how to make the questions less complex, burdensome and confusing while still collecting the best data possible. [Letter]

On January 15, 2016, the American Retirement Association (the “ARA”) submitted a comment letter to the Department of Labor with respect to a proposed regulation under which an individual retirement plan, if established and maintained pursuant to a state law mandated payroll deduction program, would not be considered to be an “employee pension benefit plan” or “pension plan” under Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). In the comment letter, the ARA made the following recommendations:

  • That the non-ERISA safe harbor under the proposed rule be expanded to apply to comparable payroll deduction programs established and administered by private sector providers; and
  • That the non-ERISA safe harbor under the proposed rule be available to any payroll deduction IRA program without regard to whether it is mandated by a state law (or offered under a state established IRA Program). Alternatively, the ARA recommends that the final rule include an amendment to the non-ERISA safe harbor contained in ERISA Regulation Section 2510.3-2(d) to permit automatic enrollment features. [Letter]