Caron Bletzer News

ERISA Benefit Plan Auditor Market Share: New England

ERISA Benefit Plans of New England 6,080 ERISA benefit plans in the New England region plans obtained audits. Caron & Bletzer led the pack with 377 audited plans, and PwC was not far behind with 291 plans. Source: Read More »

Marcia Baker Promotion Announcement

It is with great pleasure that we announce the promotion of Marcia Baker, CPA to Principal effective January 1, 2017.  Since joining Caron & Bletzer, PLLC in 2006, she has focused her time on complex ERISA engagements including but not limited to employee stock ownership plan audits, 11-K filings and medical plan audits.   Marcia also oversees our internal staff development through a comprehensive training program focused on establishing a strong foundation in ERISA and audit skills...

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2017 Retirement Plan Limits Announced

Last Thursday, the IRS announced new statutory limits for 2017. The most important changes applicable to retirement plans are outlined below. The most visible limits to the public, those that affect the amount participants can contribute to a plan, remain unchanged.  The §402(g) elective deferral (employee contribution) limit and the "catch-up" contribution limit both remain at $18,000 and $6,000, respectively, for 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans. The §415(c)(1)(A) limit on total contributions to a defined contribution...

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DOL outreach by email

  The U.S. Department of Labor is expanding efforts to use technology to reach plan sponsors and other constituents to get its message out.  On November 19th, the Department did an educational email blast to many sponsors of employee benefit plans that require audits, on the hot topic of audit quality and picking a qualified CPA firm to perform this vital service.  In their email, they referred to their study on audit quality, released in May...

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The U.S. DOL Issues New Report on Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) issued a damning report on its latest study of the quality of required audits of employee benefit plans.  The report, titled “Assessing the Quality of Employee Benefit Plan Audits” can be accessed at the Department’s website, at www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/2014AuditReport.pdf.  The DOL reviewed 400 audits out of the over 81,000 performed by over 7,300 audit firms for the 2011 plan year.  They chose a stratified sample based...

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Hardship Distributions – IRS Issues Guidance to Plan Sponsors Clarifying Documentation Requirements

Recently, the IRS posted clear and concise guidance to plan sponsors regarding their responsibility to maintain documentation supporting hardship distributions.  In short, the article on their website states “the plan sponsor must obtain and keep hardship distribution records.  Failure to have these records available for examination is a qualification failure that should be corrected using the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS”).”  The IRS also confirms that a participant may only self-certify that the distribution...

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IRS issues Rev. Proc 2015-28 to provide new safe harbor Employee Compliance Resolution System (“EPCRS”) correction methods relating to plans with automatic contribution features AND special safe harbor correction methods for plans (including plans with automatic contribution features) that have failures that are of limited duration and involve elective deferrals. These new methods are less costly and should reduce the administrative burden on plan sponsors trying to correct participant contribution errors.  In summary:

2015 Retirement Plan Limits Announced

The IRS has announced the new COLA increases for qualified plan limits for 2015. The most significant changes that will likely affect your retirement plans are outlined below. The §402(g) elective deferral (employee contribution) limit and the "catch-up" contribution limit increased from $17,500 to $18,000 and $5,500 to $6,000, respectively, for 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans. The dollar threshold for determining “highly compensated employee” status increased from $115,000 to $120,000, and the annual compensation limit under §401(a)(17)...

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C&B Runners Go the Distance…Again!

[caption id="attachment_122" align="alignnone" width="300"] C&B Race team 2014[/caption] We had a great time at the Cigna/Elliot 5k in August.  We are proud to say that fifteen Caron & Bletzer team members participated in 2014.  The photo is missing three great team members (Kelsey, Marcus, and Matt B) who missed the photo op, but made it just in time to...

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2014 Retirement Plan Limit Increases Announced

The IRS announced yesterday the new limits for 2014. The most important changes applicable to retirement plans are outlined below. The §415(c)(1)(A) limit on total contributions to a defined contribution plan was increased from $51,000 to $52,000. The §415(b)(1)(A) limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit pension plan increased from $205,000 to $210,000. The dollar threshold for determining “highly compensated employee” status remains at $115,000, and the annual compensation limit under §401(a)(17) that governs the amount...

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