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What You Should Know About ERISA Plan Audit Changes

By Craig Erickson, Partner-in-Charge, Employee Benefit Plan Group In July 2019, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) issued a new Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS 136) designed to regulate and improve the audit quality for plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The new standards were originally intended to apply to audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2020, but the...

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Retirement Plan Limits Announced for 2021

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced on October 26, 2020, the retirement plan contribution limits, adjusted for cost-of-living adjustments, for 2021.  These adjustments can be found in greater detail in IRS Notice 2020-79. The COVID-19 pandemic’s continuing impact on the U.S. economy contributed to relatively flat changes in the 2021 COLA amounts as U.S. economic deflation during the first half of 2020 impacted the COLA metrics. The IRS increased the IRS annual compensation...

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401(k) Plans and the Coronavirus

By Craig Erickson With the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 causing vast uncertainties in the economy, employers that sponsor employee benefit plans and the plan fiduciaries must continue to manage and administer their benefit plans, as well as address inquiries from their participants.  The following are some topics that may be helpful during these times. Hardship Withdrawals Plan sponsors may receive calls from plan participants in the near future asking for ways they can financially...

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Coronavirus Retirement Plan Review

By Craig Erickson With the continual uncertainty we are facing each day, it is important to keep in mind that changes in legislation may impact your current design of your employee benefit plan.  Following are some topics Plan sponsors and fiduciaries of employee benefit plans may overlook. 401(k) and Profit-Sharing Plans: Employer Contributions – Plan sponsors and fiduciaries may want to consider reducing or halting employer contributions.  For non-safe harbor plans (match or non-elective...

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2019 Maximum Limitations for Retirement Plans

The IRS has announced that the amounts employees can contribute to retirement plans will increase in 2019.  Following is a table detailing some of those increases:     – Source – Notice 2018-83 (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-18-83.pdf)   Provided by Wiss’ Employee Benefit Plan Group Craig R. Erickson – Partner Cindy Sandomenico – Director Laura Zindel – Manager   Craig Erickson is the Partner-in-Charge of our Employee Benefit Plan Group where...

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Update to Fiduciary Rule Improves Retirement Advice

By Wiss Associate You may assume that when a broker, advisor, insurance agent, or consultant makes recommendations about your retirement account, the advice is in your best interest. But that hasn’t always been the case. While the majority of advisers act in the best interest of their clients, not all have been legally required to do so, and some have been swayed by hidden fees or commissions to recommend investments that weren’t necessarily the best choice for their clients’ individual...

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Borrowing from Your 401(k): What to Know Before Making the Decision

By Cindy Sandomenico Borrowing money from your 401(k) account can be tempting. You know the money is there, and it’s yours, so why not use it? Before you pull the trigger, however, consider the limitations and consequences. Here are some important points to keep in mind. Know the rules Generally, you can borrow from a 401(k) for any reason, such as paying educational expenses or buying a home for the first time — although employers are not required to offer a loan option within...

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How to Minimize Your Fiduciary Liability

By Craig Erickson Updated 7/30/2019. Those with discretionary authority or administrative control over their organization’s retirement and 401(k) plan face significant risks. If fiduciaries make decisions that negatively affect plan participants or beneficiaries, they can be held personally liable for breaching their fiduciary duties, even if the action was unintentional. Although fiduciaries cannot entirely eliminate the risks associated with their role, there are several things...

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What the DOL Looks for During an Audit

By Craig Erickson You’ve just learned that the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration has selected your company’s retirement plan for an investigation. Are you and your plan prepared for an audit? The DOL typically doesn’t provide much notice before beginning an audit, which can last several days, weeks or longer. However, in advance of starting, you will receive an investigation notice that includes a list of documents its people will want to review when...

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What Type of 401(k) Plan Document Do I Have and When Do I Need to Update it?

By Craig Erickson When you establish your company’s 401(k) plan, you have to make a range of decisions, from the type of plan and investment tools you’ll offer to participation requirements and guidelines. Once you’ve done this, you need to put it in writing. This is your plan document, a mandatory part of your plan that details its provisions and clearly communicates them to participants. There are three levels of plan documents: Prototype. This off-the-shelf version of a plan...

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