Qualified Retirement Plans

Most qualified (i.e., tax-preferred) retirement plans must comply with a myriad of federal rules and regulations under both the Internal Revenue Code and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); the lack of compliance carries significant potential costs and penalties.  We can help employers and other plan sponsors or administrators navigate this complex web of requirements (and minimize the consequences of noncompliance when it occurs) by:

  • Preparing initial documents and amendments for individually designed, qualified defined contribution and defined benefit plans;
  • Advising on qualified retirement plan matters involved in mergers, acquisitions and business sales;
  • Advising on day-to-day operational issues requiring interpretation and application of the law, such as discrimination testing, contributions, deductions, vesting, eligibility, qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) and the timing and taxation of benefit distributions;
  • Helping clients navigate the voluntary plan error correction programs offered by the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor;
  • Providing fiduciary advice and guidance, including consulting, training and educational seminars to help better understand and carry out fiduciary obligations and manage liability; 
  • Representing clients in plan audits by the Internal Revenue Service or the Department of Labor;
  • Assisting with plan terminations before the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation;
  • Defending employers, plan sponsors and service providers in litigation in federal and state tribunals, including under ERISA;
  • Reviewing and/or preparing service provider agreements;
  • Preparing the required periodic filings necessary to obtain favorable determination letters for plans from the Internal Revenue Service; and
  • Advising and assisting with prototype or volume submitter plan documents offered by outside providers, to ensure they reflect the provisions desired by the adopting employer.

Governmental Plans
For qualified retirement plans sponsored by governmental entities, many provisions of ERISA do not apply and federal tax laws apply differently.  Our attorneys have considerable experience representing governmental plan sponsors and advising them on the unique requirements applicable to their qualified plans, including many of the above aspects as well as representation in administrative appeals, and drafting legislation, policies and other plan governance documents.

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