Services

ICMS offers expertise in designing, marketing, implementing and managing the evolving range of benefit programs. This expertise includes custom, fact-based solutions that meet and exceed our client’s criteria. Our relationships within the industry enable us to negotiate with major vendors and provide our clients with the diverse, leading edge programs they need to attract and retain top talent.

While the specific nature and scope of our services differs depending on local systems, laws, conditions and needs, our broad offerings include:

  • Program strategy, design and pricing
  • Vendor evaluation, selection and monitoring
  • Care and disease management consulting
  • Employee education and research
  • Communication
  • Performance measurement and monitoring
  • Funding strategies
  • Legal compliance

Our role is to act as an adjunct of your human resources team, bringing benefits knowledge, skills, and experience to your organization. We perform all the necessary plan management functions needed to ensure a smooth and efficient delivery of benefits programs to participants while keeping an eye on long-term financial viability.

Account Management Services uses a dynamic process that includes:

  • Setting objectives based upon your organization’s corporate philosophy and long term strategic plans
  • Designing employee benefit plans that are competitive within your industry
  • Evaluating insurance vendors, determining appropriate carriers, preparing requests for proposals, and aggressively negotiating renewals
  • Implementing programs, providing employee communication materials, and providing continuing administrative and compliance support
  • Analyzing claim data and providing monthly financial reports

Comprehensive Service Packages include a variety of day-to-day plan management and strategic planning initiatives:

  • Providing customized benefit manuals and financial reports
  • Navigating federal and state regulation compliance issues
  • Preparing 5500 forms
  • Assisting with claims issues
  • Completing employee benefit surveys
  • Conducting educational seminars
  • Customizing employer communications materials, end of year benefit statements, plan summaries and other educational material

We also collaborate with a select group of proven strategic partners and expertise:

  • ERISA and employment law attorneys
  • Prescription drug consultants
  • Employee communications specialists
  • COBRA and Flex administrators
  • Claim and trend analysis experts utilizing proprietary PlanIT report

Wherever your organization falls in the Mergers and Acquisition process – due diligence, integration, managing change, or post-merger integration – it requires the highest-caliber advice throughout the process and implementing the strategies that knit the organizations together seamlessly. A thoughtful, comprehensive approach to a deal — with a sharp focus on human capital — can make all the difference in meeting your business needs.

By introducing our expertise as early as possible and putting it to work throughout the entire process, you ensure that your organization makes sound decisions about transitioning/integrating cultures, communication, reward programs and related practices.

Multiemployer plans are essentially benefit programs sponsored and administered by boards of trustees made up of both labor and management, representing participants from many organizations, and they are often referred to as “Taft-Hartley plans”.

ICMS has experienced consultants who provide unique services to multiemployer programs, including retirement, health care, disability and other welfare benefits to workers who might otherwise have no access to such benefits.

Unique Benefit Structures
Mulitemployer have unique structures that require a comprehensive understanding of unit benefit plans, credited service, collective bargaining unit formulas and reciprocity within industries. ICMS’s team of professionals provides these unique services to a broad range of multiemployers and we understand just how different these programs are from traditional single employer relationships.

Relationships
With so many perspectives, our consultants must build solid working relationships will all parties — union and management, members, trustees and professional advisors. We have focused on this market segment since our founding in 1986 and it continues to be a large part of our market success.

Services

  • Retirement
  • Health and Welfare
  • Compliance
  • Communications
  • Administration

We deliver our services in ways that best meet each organization’s specific needs, preferences and budget. Some clients prefer us to do “end-to-end” services, while others ask us to maintain an active role in managing their retirement programs. We take a team approach and work as an extension of the organization’s staff, to ensure the work is always done by those best qualified at the most affordable cost.

Our retirement consulting services include:

  • Retirement strategy
  • Actuarial services
  • Retirement financial management
  • Compliance and administration
  • Investment consulting
  • Retirement risk solutions

ICMS recognizes that flexible products retain members. In addition to the major product offerings such as medical insurance, retirement plans and executive benefits, ICMS consultants work with clients to identify individual needs and to determine if those needs can be met with a voluntary benefits offering.

Effective analysis, selection and support, are key to offering an effective program for participants. ICMS utilizes a number of tools to survey and analyze the needs that may not be met by existing plans. In the next step a suite of products is selected to fill the gaps and devise an implementation plan.

Products are drawn from reputable providers that have efficient enrollment and administration platforms. We make sure that the implementation plan includes the resources necessary to educate your participants, answer their ongoing questions and handle the administrative details.

Fill the gaps in your benefit offerings with insurance products covering:

  • Permanent and Term Life Insurance
  • Short, Long and Supplemental Disability
  • Long Term Care
  • Specialized Health Care
  • Legal, Auto and Home

 
The convenience of having quality offerings in these areas will be of high value to your members. This is invaluable to your organization. We will help you pick the best offerings up front and review their performance to ensure that the offerings continue to support the long-term objectives of the program.

Driving Behavior Change is the Bottom Line!

Companies simply cannot afford to “do nothing” in this important health arena – there must be a focus on reducing the prevalence and cost associated with preventable disease.

Wellness programs have become a critical element to HR department’s employee benefit mix, and more importantly, a component of business strategy. Wellness programs are extremely diverse and vary based on business need, size of the organization and culture.

At the employer level, we seek to stratify risk and improve the health and well being of employees while creating a wellness culture. We produce a single information source to manage employee’s health risk with the ultimate goal to reduce trends and company cost.

At the participant/employee level, our programs mission is to guide members through a fun, engaging process of improving health and behavior modification while reducing metabolic, cardiovascular risk, and ensuring their success through a continuum of personalized education, clinical care, counseling, and empowerment.
The Wellness Solution is comprised of a number of elements that combine the best practices of wellness resulting in the most comprehensive, measurable wellness solution on the market today.

The three main components of the program are driven by thorough biometric testing, engaging social media tools, and interactive coaching.

ICMS provides a full suite of Human Resource Consulting Services to assist in easing the burden on your day to day involvement of HR issues allowing you to focus on achieving your business goals. Our dedicated human resource professionals can assist in the following:

  • HR Policies and Administration
  • HR Audit Services
  • HR Compliance

 
See our information for details on these services described in the appropriate section.

Table of Contents

  1. Source Documents on the Web
    1. United States Code
    2. IRS Documents
      1. IRS Temporary and Final Regulations
      2. IRS Proposed Regulations
      3. Revenue Rulings and Revenue Procedures
      4. Forms and Publications
      5. Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memoranda, Chief Counsel Advice
      6. Applicable Federal Rates
      7. Examination (Audit) Guidelines
      8. Employee Plans News
      9. Listing of Required Modifications (LRM) Language
      10. Alert Guidelines, Explanations & Plan Deficiency Paragraphs
      11. Employee Plans CPE Texts
      12. Retirement Plans Web Page
    3. Department of Labor Documents
      1. DOL Final and Temporary Regulations
      2. DOL Proposed Regulations
      3. Advisory Opinions and Information Letters
      4. Field Assistance Bulletins
      5. Class Exemptions
      6. Publications
      7. ERISA Advisory Council Working Group Reports
    4. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Documents
      1. PBGC Regulations
      2. Technical Updates
      3. Current Interest Rates
      4. Forms for Plan Administrators
      5. Publications for Plan Administrators
      6. Pension Search Directory
    5. Federal Register
    6. Court Opinions
    7. Congressional Record
    8. U.S. General Accounting Office Reports
    9. Congressional Documents
      1. Thomas Web server provides full text of bills, committee reports and some committee hearings transcripts
      2. House Ways and Means Committee
      3. House Committee on Education and the Workforce
      4. Senate Finance Committee
      5. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee
      6. Senate Special Committee on Aging
      7. Joint Committee on Taxation “Blue Books”
  2. Keeping Current
    1. Government Sources
      1. IRS Employee Plans Corner
      2. EBSA (DOL)
      3. PBGC What’s New page
      4. Joint Committee on Taxation 2005 Publications
    2. Recommended Free or Primarily Free Online Publications for Plan Sponsors and Compliance Service-Providers
    3. Recommended Pay-to-Access Web Publications for Plan Sponsors and Compliance Service-Providers
  3. Lists of Links (online compilations)
  4. Message Boards
  5. Surveys and Research Reports

I. Source Documents on the Web

A. United States Code

  1. Government Printing Office:
    http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/cong013.html

Searchable by keywords. Caution: neither this database nor the others shown below are up-to-the-minute; versions on the Web might even be more than a year old.

  1. Cornell Legal Information Institute:
    http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/

Can pull up text of a particular title and section number; can browse table of contents in each title and “drill down” to text of particular sections.

Handy “Updates” link appears at the right side of the page once you have a particular section on-screen, which searches a House of Representatives server for recent changes to the particular section.

  1. House of Representatives, Office of the Law Revision Council:
    http://uscode.house.gov/usc.htm

Searchable by keywords.

Site includes “Classification Tables” showing which U.S. Code sections have been affected by recent legislation:
http://uscode.house.gov/uscct.htm

  1. Article about Using These Code Sources:
    http://www.llrx.com/columns/usc.htm
    (Law Library Resource Xchange, LLC)

B. IRS Documents
  1. Retirement Plans IRS Web Page:
    http://www.irs.gov/retirement/
  2. IRS Temporary and Final Regulations
    1. Government Printing Office

GPO has a page for making searches using keywords (search terms); specify Title 26 and then click “continue”:
http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/cfr-table-search.html

GPO has a page allowing the retrieval of a particular regulation by section number:
http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/cfr-retrieve.html#page1

Or browse through the final and temporary income tax regulations as of April 1, 2001 using a table of contents:
http://www.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/cfrassemble.cgi?title=200126

  1. IRS Proposed Regulations
    1. The Federal Register is where proposed regulations are published. (See “Federal Register,” later in this outline.)
  2. Revenue Rulings and Revenue Procedures
    1. Official IRS sources
    2. www.UncleFed.com has revenue rulings and revenue procedures in PDF format also, but on a per-item basis. Not necessary to know the issue of the IRB in which the ruling appeared. Not updated since 2007.
      http://www.unclefed.com/Tax-Bulls/
  3. Forms and Publications

The Internal Revenue Service has almost all forms and IRS publications online:
http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/

Almost all forms and publications are available as PDF files, but many of the publications are coming online in HTML format:
http://www.irs.gov/publications/

  1. Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memoranda, Chief Counsel Advice

These documents generally are not available online except from commercial services, but in January 1999 the IRS began to publish certain of these documents:
http://www.irs.gov/app/picklist/list/writtenDeterminations.html

These can be sorted by “Uniform Issue List number” (e.g., UIL 423.00-00 is “Employee Stock Purchase Plans”).

  1. Applicable Federal Rates
  1. Examination (Audit) Guidelines from the IRS Manual: http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=96954,00.html
  2. Employee Plans News. Begun in the spring of 2001, the Employee Plans News is issued periodically during the year with retirement plan information from the offices of Employee Plans (an operating unit of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) Division).
    http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=96731,00.html

Archived issues:
http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=96719,00.html

Subscribe for free email delivery:
http://www.irs.gov/retirement/content/0,,id=154834,00.html

  1. Listing of Required Modifications (LRM) Language. Used by the National Office in processing requests for opinion letters on master and prototype plans; recently updated to link to GUST versions.
    http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=97182,00.html
  2. Alert Guidelines, Explanations & Plan Deficiency Paragraphs. These forms and documents are tools used by Employee Plans specialists during their review of retirement plans. These forms and documents are available to plan sponsors to use before submitting a determination letter application to the IRS.
    http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=97188,00.html
  3. Employee Plans CPE Texts. A series of articles of interest published by the IRS as the Employee Plans Continuing Professional Education Technical Instruction Program for fiscal years 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. (2000 is not online.) The IRS points out on its site that “Under no circumstances should the contents of these articles be used or cited as authority for setting or sustaining a technical position.”
    http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=96948,00.html

2002 topics:
http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=102249,00.html

    • CPE Determinations Processing (An in-depth look at the processing of Employee Plans (EP) Determination Letter Applications.)
    • Overview of Selected Determination Worksheets (An overview of selected determination worksheets (1, 3, 11, 12) used by EP Specialists during their review of retirement plans.)
    • Recurring Issues Report (Insights into frequently recurring defects in plan language that require corrective amendments and delay case closure.)
    • Summary of Plan Requirements under Notice 98-52 (ADP/ACP Safe Harbors), as modified by Notice 2000-3 (A summary of alternative nondiscrimination testing methods or safe harbor 401(k) and (m) provisions and operations.)
    • Required Minimum Distributions – Explanation of Old and New Regulations (A review of the basic rules regarding minimum distributions and highlights of the changes to section 401(a)(9) effective January 1, 2002.)
    • Coverage and Nondiscrimination with Emphasis on Determination Processing
    • Selected Topics Under IRC 415, Section 415(b), and Section 415(e), as Amended by GATT, SBJPA, and the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (A general discussion of the limitations of IRC 415; a review of the changes to IRC 415 under these laws; and examples demonstrating how IRC 415 calculations are affected.)
    • Issues Related to the Repeal of IRC section 415(e)
    • The Remedial Amendment Period (An overview of the requirements under section 401(b) for GUST amendments; effective dates for retroactive plan amendments for changes made by GUST; and the requirements for plans terminating before the end of their remedial amendment period.)
    • Basic Examination Techniques
    • Statute of Limitations (A review of the statute of limitations for EP returns and the procedures for securing the extension of the statute of limitations.)
    • Summary of Declaratory Judgment, Administrative Record, and Building a Case for Litigation
    • Statute of Limitations
    • Cash or Deferred Arrangements – Selected Examination Issues
    • SCP and Audit CAP Procedures (A guide to assist EP Specialists with identifying which correction program would be appropriate to apply in a certain situation and to set forth uniform procedures that can be used to ensure consistent treatment by each Area Office when applying the criteria and requirements of Audit CAP and SCP.)
    • Simplified Employee Pensions (SEPs) (A technical reference for simplified employee pensions (SEPs).)
    • EGTRRA Changes to Qualified Plans (Highlights of the major EGTRRA changes affecting IRC 401(a) plans and their effective dates.)
    • Defined Benefit Accruals (A review of the benefit accrual rules for defined benefit plans.)

2001 topics:
http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=96946,00.html

    • The Remedial Amendment Period (overview of the requirements under Code section 401(b) as they apply to plan amendments for GUST, effective dates for retroactive plan amendments for changes made by GUST, and the requirements for plans terminating before the end of their remedial amendment period)
    • Summary of Plan Requirements under Notice 98-52 (ADP/ACP Safe Harbors), as modified by Notice 2000-3 (guidance on the “safe harbor” methods under sections 401(k)(12) and 401(m)(11) for satisfying the actual deferral percentage and the actual contribution percentage tests under sections 401(k) and 401(m))
    • Cash or Deferred Arrangements after 1997 and Selected Examination Issues (summary of the changes made by SBJPA, TRA and RRA with regards to testing and correcting for discrimination)
    • Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (discussion of Revenue Procedure 2000-16, 2000-6 I.R.B. 518)
    • Issues Related to the Repeal of IRC Section 415(e)
    • Section 457 Deferred Compensation Plans of State and Local Government and Tax-Exempt Employers after the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 and the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (overview of section 457)
    • Current Developments in IRS Benefits Litigation (summary of key court cases)
    • IRC Section 401(h) Retiree Medical Benefits (overview of section 401(h), including issues to be considered when reviewing a determination letter application and issues to be considered when examining a pension or annuity plan involving section 401(h))

1999 topics:
http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=96941,00.html

    • Summary of Plan Requirements – Notice 98-52, ADP/ACP Safe Harbors (summary of the plan provision requirements under Notice 98-52, specifically, the design-based alternative or “safe harbor” methods under sections 401(k)(12) and 401(m)(11) of the Internal Revenue Code for satisfying the actual deferral percentage and the actual contribution percentage tests under sections 401(k) and 401(m))
    • Summary of Plan Requirements – Notices 97-2 and 98-1, Distribution of Excess Contributions and ADP/ACP using Prior Year Method (overview on the determination letter requirements of Notices 97-2 and 98-1 which provide guidance on amendments made by the Small Business Job Protection Act (SBJPA), including changes to the nondiscrimination rules under sections 401(k) and 401(m) of the Code)
    • Changes to the Definition of Highly Compensated Employee and Family Aggregation Under SBJPA (details on the changes made by SBJPA with regards to the definition of Highly Compensated Employee and Family Aggregation, including the impact these changes make on plan language)
    • Involuntary Distributions, $5000 Cash Out Regulations (discussion of the temporary and final regulations dealing with the increase in the cashout limit to $5,000)
    • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (overview)
    • Summary of Plan Requirements, Section 401(a)(9) (details on guidance relating to the required beginning date as changed by SBJPA)
    • Other Published Actuarial Guidance Copies of:
      • a field directive which addresses the plan amendments for defined benefit plans (required by GATT and SBJPA)
      • Rev. Rul. 98-1 (addresses the changes in the IRC 415 limitations)
      • Rev. Rul. 95-6 (addresses the applicable mortality table under GATT)
    • Other Published Guidance. Copies of:
      • Treasury Decision 8806 (re § 411(d)(6))
      • Rev. Proc. 99-13 (re the establishment of the Tax Sheltered Annuity Voluntary Correction program)

1998 topics:
http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=96933,00.html

    • Changes to CODAs Under the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 and the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and Selected Examination Issues
    • Selected Topics Under IRC Section 414(c), Section 415(b) and Section 415(e), as amended by GATT, SBJPA and the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997
    • The Remedial Amendment Period
    • Introduction to Cafeteria Plans
    • VEBA Awareness
    • The Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System

C. Department of Labor Documents
  1. DOL Final and Temporary Regulations
    1. Government Printing Office

GPO has a page for making searches using keywords (search terms); specify Title 29 and then click “continue”:
http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/cfr-table-search.html

Note: as of September 17, 2001 the most recent update containing the ERISA parts of the DOL regs (Parts 2500-2599, handled by the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration) was the July 1, 2000 version (click the appropriate checkbox), which shows the ERISA parts of the DOL regs as being current through September 22, 2000.

GPO has a page allowing the retrieval of a particular regulation by section number:
http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/cfr-retrieve.html#page1

To browse through the final and temporary DOL ERISA regulations as of September 22, 2000 using a table of contents:
http://www.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/cfrassemble.cgi?title=200029

    1. DOL Web Site

Final and temporary DOL ERISA regulations:
http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/Title_29/Chapter_XXV.htm

The DOL page includes this disclaimer, however: “The user should be aware that, while we try to keep the information timely and accurate, there will often be a delay between official publication of the materials and their appearance or modification of these pages. Therefore, we make no express or implied guarantees. The Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Department.”

Recent final and temporary DOL ERISA regs might appear here:
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fedreg/final/main.htm

  1. DOL Proposed Regulations
    1. The Federal Register is where proposed regulations are published. (See “Federal Register,” later in this outline.)
    2. Proposed DOL ERISA regulations are on the DOL website:
      http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fedreg/proposed/main.htm
  2. Advisory Opinions and Information Letters:
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/Regs/AOs/main.html

Published in full text (HTML format) back to 1992, listed by number.

  1. Field Assistance Bulletins:
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/Regs/fabmain.html

Published in full text, listed by number.

  1. Class Exemptions:
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/Regs/ClassExemptions/main.html (some are not yet online, though)
  2. Publications:
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/main.html

Including:

    • 401(k) Plan Fees Disclosure Form (available only on the Internet)
    • Cash Balance Plans: Questions and Answers
    • Compliance Assistance for Group Health Plans: HIPAA and Other Recent Health Care Laws
    • EFAST A – User’s Guide for Electronic/Magnetic Media Filing of Forms 5500 and 5500 EZ
    • EFAST B – Electronic/Magnetic Media File Specifications for Validation Criteria for Forms 5500 and 5500 EZ
    • EFAST C- EFAST Participant Acceptance Testing Procedures
    • MEWAs: Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act – A Guide to Federal and State Regulation
    • Questions & Answers: EFAST – ERISA Filing Acceptance System
    • Questions and Answers: Recent Changes in Health Care Law (Revised Nov. 98)
    • Troubleshooter’s Guide to Filing the ERISA Annual Report (Form 5500)
    • Your Employer’s Bankruptcy: How Will it Affect Your Employee Benefits?
    • A Look at 401(k) Plan Fees … For Employees
    • A Look at 401(k) Plan Fees … For Employers
    • Health Benefits under the Consolidation Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
    • Pension and Welfare Brief: Can the Retiree Health Benefits Provided by your Employer be Cut?
    • QDROs: The Division of Pensions through Qualified Domestic Relations Orders
  1. ERISA Advisory Council Working Group Reports:
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/adcoun/acintro.htm

These are valuable information sources about benefits design trends. Often the reports cover areas the DOL sees as “trouble spots,” which might get legislative or regulatory attention.


D. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Documents
  1. PBGC Regulations
    1. Final and Temporary PBGC/ERISA Regs (as recently renumbered; HTML format):
      http://www.pbgc.gov/practitioners/law-regulations-informal-guidance/content/page13188.html
    2. Chronological Listing Since 1996 of final and temporary regs, and their associated proposed versions:
      http://www.pbgc.gov/practitioners/law-regulations-informal-guidance/content/page14449.html
    3. Currently Proposed Regs:
      http://www.pbgc.gov/practitioners/law-regulations-informal-guidance/content/page13748.html
    4. Regulations are published also in the Federal Register (see “Federal Register,” later in this outline).
  2. Technical Updates:
    http://www.pbgc.gov/practitioners/law-regulations-informal-guidance/content/index.html
  3. Current interest rates for use in termination of single-employer defined benefit plans:
    http://www.pbgc.gov/practitioners/index.html
  4. Forms for plan administrators:
    http://www.pbgc.gov/practitioners/index.html
  5. Publications for plan administrators:
    http://www.pbgc.gov/media/key-resources-for-the-press/content/page14802.html

Including:

  1. Pension Search Directory:
    https://www.pbgc.gov/MissingParticipant/missingParticipantSearch.jsp

This online database enables individuals to determine whether PBGC holds benefits for them, under defined benefit plans taken over by PBGC.


E. Federal Register
  1. Current issue, in HTML format: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/fr-cont.html
  2. Searchable database:
  3. HTML editions:

F. Court Opinions
  1. Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute provides links to Courts of Appeals and Supreme Court cases:
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/federal/opinions.html
  2. Supreme Court Center provides links to recent opinions as well as briefs; published by the New York Times and powered by FindLaw:
    http://supreme.nytimes.findlaw.com/supreme_court/resources.html
  3. Law Library of Congress provides alternate links to Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court:
    http://www.loc.gov/law/guide/usjudic.html
  4. District Court Opinions from many of the U.S. district courts:
    http://www.uscourts.gov/allinks.html
  5. State Court Web Sites:
    http://www.ncsconline.org/D_KIS/info_court_web_sites.html#state
  6. U.S. Tax Court Opinions:
    http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/

G. Congressional Record

Government Printing Office

  1. Searchable database (1995-present):
    http://www.gpoaccess.gov/crecord/index.html
  2. Also possible to view a particular page (1995-present) as a PDF file:
    http://www.gpoaccess.gov/crecord/retrieve.html

H. U.S. General Accounting Office Reports
  1. GAO searchable database (1975-present); see
    http://www.gao.gov/docdblite/form.php?entry=1

Tip: try specifying “Income Security” as the “topic” in the drop-down list, to retrieve retirement income-related articles. Another useful topic is “Health.”


I. Congressional Documents
  1. Thomas Web server provides full text of bills, committee reports and some committee hearings transcripts, at
    http://thomas.loc.gov/
  2. House Ways and Means Committee:
    http://waysandmeans.house.gov
  3. House Committee on Education and the Workforce:
    http://www.house.gov/ed_workforce/
  4. Senate Finance Committee:
    http://www.senate.gov/~finance/
  5. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee:
    http://help.senate.gov/
  6. Senate Special Committee on Aging:
    http://aging.senate.gov/
  7. Joint Committee on Taxation “Blue Books” (excellent summaries of proposed and recently passed legislation):
    http://www.house.gov/jct/

II. Keeping Current

A. Government Sources

  1. Retirement Plans IRS Web Page:
    http://www.irs.gov/retirement/

See especially the current edition of the new IRS newsletter, Employee Plans News:
http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=96731,00.html

  1. EBSA (DOL):
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/
  2. PBGC What’s New page:
    http://www.pbgc.gov/whatsnew.htm
  3. Joint Committee on Taxation 2006 Publications:
    http://www.house.gov/jct/pubs06.html

B. Recommended Free or Primarily Free Online Publications for Plan Sponsors and Compliance Service-Providers

(In alphabetic order.)

  1. ASPPA Governmental Affairs committee (frequent):
    http://www.asppa.org/government/gov_comment.htm
  2. American Benefits Council (frequent):
    press releases page:
    http://www.americanbenefitscouncil.org/newsroom/news.cfm
  3. BenefitsBlog (frequent; commentary on leading benefits news by attorney B. Janell Grenier):
    http://www.benefitscounsel.com/benefitsblog/
  4. BenefitsLink Newsletter (weekdays): free email newsletter containing links to benefits-related news articles and links to new benefits-related articles and documents on the Web. Two editions available: Retirement Plans, Welfare Plans. To subscribe:
    http://benefitslink.com/newsletter/
  5. Benefits in the News page on BenefitsLink; a web version of the BenefitsLink Newsletter (see above), with more functionality (e.g., search buttons after each link):
    http://benefitslink.com/buzz/new.html
  6. Carol V. Calhoun’s Employee Benefits Legal Resource Site
    http://benefitsattorney.com/

Attorney Carol V. Calhoun’s practice emphasizes tax-exempt and governmental benefits matters. See especially the Speeches and Publications section of her web site. Examples: DROP/Phased Retirement Arrangements, 457 Matches, and Other Current Trends in Governmental Plans; The Issues Institutional Investors Face in Doing Social Investing.

  1. Compendium of Current Inflation-Adjusted Limits (Carol V. Calhoun’s Employee Benefits Legal Resource Site):
    http://www.benefitsattorney.com/links/Inflation-Adjusted_Limits/
  2. EBIA Weekly (weekly via email; Employee Benefits Institute of America; concise, useful analysis of legal developments in a variety of areas):
    http://www.ebia.com/weekly/
  3. EBRI Online (Employee Benefits Research Institute; links to new employee benefits content on the Web, especially strong on policy issues; news about new EBRI Reports and Issue Briefs):
    http://www.ebri.org/whatsnew/
  4. Foundation for Enterprise Development (ESOP information, stock options, other equity ownership issues):
    http://www.fed.org/
  5. FreeERISA.com
    http://www.freeerisa.com/

Lets you “locate, view and download facsimiles of employers’ most recent Form 5500, as filed with the United States Department of Labor.” Attachments are provided for a fee, e.g. the auditor’s report or Schedule B.

  1. Groom Law Group (see especially Articles & Briefs: Pension & Tax Issues):
    http://www.groom.com/
  2. Hay Benefits Advisor (quarterly):
    http://www.haygroup.com/Research_Library/Newsletters/Hay_Benefits.asp
  3. Hewitt Associates Washington Report (weekly):
    http://www.hewittassociates.com/Intl/NA/en-US/KnowledgeCenter/LegislativeUpdates/WashingtonReport.aspx
  4. Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide (frequently; status reports on bills):
    http://www.hewittassociates.com/Intl/NA/en-US/KnowledgeCenter/LegislativeUpdates/LegislativeUpdates.aspx
  5. Hodgson Russ LLP:
    http://www.hodgsonruss.com/Home/Practice_Areas/Alphabetical_Listing/Employee_Benefits/Employee_Benefits_Developments
  6. International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans:
    http://www.ifebp.org/
  7. Kilpatrick Stockton LLP employee benefits articles:
    http://www.kilpatrickstockton.com/publications/search.aspx?PubType=Articles
  8. Mercer Human Resource Consulting’s Weekly Highlights:
    http://wrg.wmmercer.com/more.asp?p=whl&t=ret
  9. Milliman USA (Perspectives is published quarterly; other excellent publications available online):
    http://www.milliman.com/eb/
  10. National Center for Employee Ownership (ESOP information):
    http://www.nceo.org/
  11. Nixon Peabody LLP:
    http://nixonpeabody.com/publications_list2.asp?type=NL2&NLID=30 (Benefits Alert) and http://nixonpeabody.com/publications_list2.asp?type=NL2&NLID=10 (Benefits Briefs)
  12. Noel C. Ice, Esq.:
    http://www.trustsandestates.net

If your interests lie in distribution planning or the interplay between estate planning and employee benefits, you will be delighted with Noel’s online work; detailed, candid, thorough.

  1. PLANSPONSOR (monthly online version of the magazine; daily news articles available on home page):
    http://www.plansponsor.com/

Daily free email available (NewsDash)

  1. Q&A columns (BenefitsLink):
    http://benefitslink.com/columns.html
  2. Reish Luftman McDaniel & Reicher. This Los Angeles law firm publishes a considerable amount of material on the Web, including:
  3. Roth IRA Web Site (Brentmark Software, Inc.):
    http://www.rothira.com
  4. The Segal Company
  5. SunGard Relius Pension Technical Updates (once or twice a month):
    http://www.relius.net/news/technicalupdates.aspx?T=P
  6. SunGard Relius Self-Funded Technical Updates (once or twice a month):
    http://www.relius.net/news/technicalupdates.aspx?T=S
  7. TRI Pension Services (updates to What’s New page once or twice a month; Sal Tripodi’s terrific nutshell summaries of principal benefits regs and rulings):
    http://www.cyberisa.com/erisa_new_current.htm
  8. Towers Perrin Legislative Tracking Charts (occasional):
    http://www.towers.com/towers/webcache/towers/jsp/complex_pub/complex_pub.jsp?pub=United+States (retirement, health and welfare, human resources
  9. Trucker Huss Benefits Reports (occasional):
    http://www.truckerhuss.com/articles/index.cgi?class=articles
  10. Watson Wyatt Insider (monthly):
    http://www.watsonwyatt.com/us/pubs/insider/

C. Recommended Pay-to-Access Web Publications for Plan Sponsors and Compliance Service-Providers

(In alphabetic order.)

  1. CCH Internet Research Network:
    http://hr.cch.com
  2. Pension & Benefits Daily (Bureau of National Affairs; web page with email notifications):
    http://www.bna.com/products/eb/pend.htm
  3. TAGData:
    http://www.tagdata.com

Monthly subscription provides access to TAGData experts, who answer technical questions via email. Includes an email newsletter called “Industry Update Service” that provides text of important industry press releases and attachments such as PDF versions of surveys produced by consulting firms.

  1. Tax Notes Today (Tax Analysts; web page with email notifications)
    http://www.tax.org

Daily TaxBase service and web site lists recently introduced tax-related legislation, including most benefits bills.


III. Lists of Links (online compilations)
  1. Links Sorted by Subject, on BenefitsLink.com

Gathered in one place are links to free information sources all over the Internet, arranged by subject. The list of subjects is:
http://benefitslink.com/subjects.html

  1. Carol Calhoun’s Employee Benefits Legal Resources site:
    http://benefitsattorney.com/

IV. Message Boards
  1. BenefitsLink Message Boards:
    http://benefitslink.com/boards
  2. Workforce Management Community Center Forums:
    http://www.workforce.com/phpBB/
  3. PIX BBS (attorney S. Derrin Watson, with other TPAs and actuaries):
    http://pixpc.com (information)

V. Surveys and Research Reports

(In alphabetic order.)

  1. Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Example: What Determines 401(k) Participation and Contributions?

Example: Are American Households Saving Enough for Retirement?

  1. Employee Benefit Research Institute:
    http://www.ebri.org
  2. International Society of Employee Benefit Specialists – Survey Results page:
    http://www.iscebs.org/surveys/default.asp
  3. National Bureau of Economic Research (working papers, generally available as PDF files for a $5 charge):
    http://www.nber.org/
  4. Pension Research Council at the University of Pennsylvania (working papers, more):
    http://prc.wharton.upenn.edu/prc/prc.html
  5. Society of Actuaries:
    http://www.soa.org/ccm/content/?categoryID=222005
  6. U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO):
    http://www.gao.gov

See GAO Reports page, click on Find GAO Reports, then click on Search Full Text of Reports, then enter keywords.

Information provided by: Benefits Link