By W. “Andy” Larson
Just when we thought it was safe to enjoy a quiet year end (at least from a retirement policy perspective) our supposedly gridlocked politicians fast tracked the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act as part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 —a necessary, year-end government spending bill. The SECURE Act contains some of the biggest retirement-related changes in years. The president is expected to sign the bill on 12/20/2019 to avoid a shut-down. Many provisions are effective January 1, 2020, and we need to move quickly to get advisors and clients prepared for the changes. We encourage you to contact RLC to discuss SECURE Act training for advisors and clients www.retirementlc.com.
What will change?
Many aspects of retirement plans are affected by the SECURE Act. We will focus on just a few of the major provisions here, and then discuss initial steps advisors can take to address these changes.
- Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) begin at age 72
- Stretch IRAs eliminated or curtailed for many beneficiaries
- Traditional IRA contribution eligibility regardless of age
- Expanded availability of Multiple Employer Plans (MEPs) to unrelated employers through “Pooled Plan Providers”
- Opened eligibility for 401(k) plans for certain long-service, part-time employees
- Enhanced tax credits for small employers establishing qualified plans
- Mandated retirement income disclosures for participants in defined contribution plans
- Increased penalties for late IRS Form 5500 filings
- Reduced the voluntary in-service distribution age for defined benefit plans and 457(b) plans from age 62 to 59½ (a provision originally from the Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019)
- New qualifying distributions (for apprenticeships, homeschooling, private school costs and up to $10,000 of qualified student loan repayments)
- New provisions for the disposition of terminated 403(b) plans
Despite their near immediate effectivity, some implementation aspects of these new rules won’t be finalized until the IRS issues additional regulations. Regardless, we feel it’s important to begin discussions post haste with individuals potentially impacted by these changes. We encourage the following preliminary steps in addressing the SECURE Act changes:
- Notify IRA clients under age 72 of the new ability to postpone RMDs.
- Alert IRA clients with nonspousal beneficiaries that the stretch distribution provisions will be cut back, and work with them to consider alternatives in conjunction with their estate planning counsel.
- Alert nonspouse beneficiaries with inherited IRAs of the changes to the stretch distribution rules. Discuss mitigating tax strategies with them and their tax and legal advisors.
- Inform individuals over age 70 and still working they may continue making traditional IRA contributions if they are otherwise eligible.
- Discuss with small business owners MEP opportunities and the expanded tax credits.
- Review with 401(k) plan sponsors the new eligibility rules for part-time employees.
- Modify 401(k) employee communication strategies based on new retirement income projection requirements.
- Discuss with 401(k) plan sponsors the importance of timely and accurate IRS Form 5500 filing in light of the increases in late filing penalties.
- Consider amendments to plan documents that will be required by the end of the 2022 plan year (2024 plan year for certain governmental plans).