The DOL and the IRS offers the equivalent of a “get out of jail free card”.  The second quarter of 2014 has been an active month for the Department of Labor.  Large and small retirement plans were the focus of the DOL’s enforcement actions. The DOL received judgment on May 30th for an Antioch, Illinois employer to restore $50,000 to an employee benefit plan for breach of fiduciary duty. On June 3rd the DOL reached a $5.25 million dollar settlement with GreatBanc Trust for breach of fiduciary duty.  Of this agreement, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi said “Others in the industry would do well to take notice of the protections put in place by this agreement”.

If you have not reviewed your fiduciary duties in some time, now is the time. The DOL has set the precedent of compliance with this month’s settlements. However, the DOL offers the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program and the IRS offers theVoluntary Correction Program. These correction programs include any employee benefit plan that files a Form 5500, i.e health insurance plans and retirement plans. This is not a license to violate laws. But the IRS and the DOL do realize that a majority of the employers want to do the right thing. This is their offer to help employers get on the right track and back in compliance.

The IRS has also just published a new series of forms for use in connection with the Voluntary Correction Program: IRS Form 14568 Series (Jan. 2014).   To help you get a start on reviewing your fiduciary obligations we have developed a comprehensive Fiduciary Audit Checklist.  The FAC covers eleven major sections of compliance and will help employers to set up a comprehensive fiduciary audit file.  Having a paper trail of all documents and actions is essential in the event of a DOL or IRS inquiry.   We’d like to invite you to take advantage of this free tool to make sure you are in compliance.  If you have problems, this may be your “get out of jail card”.  So why not take advantage of it?  It just might help you sleep better at night.  To receive your free Fiduciary Audit Checklist (your “get out of jail free card”) click here.  This is not legal or tax advice. If you have your own legal or tax counsel, please consult them.  Advantage Benefit Solutions does provide up to 10 hours of free counsel from an attorney that specializes in ERISA matters for clients that have at least 100 employees participating in a health insurance plan that we service. To find out more about our offer for up to 10 hours of free counsel, please click here.

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