• Adopt Design Changes by the End of the Plan Year:  If you made any design changes to the plan during the year, you generally must amend your plan to reflect those design changes by the last day of the 2012 plan year (i.e., December 31, 2012 for calendar year plans).
  • Adopt Plan Restatement if in Cycle B:  If your qualified plan is individually designed and falls in Cycle B (i.e., the employer identification number associated with the plan ends in 2 or 7 or your plan is a multiple employer plan), you must restate the plan and submit the plan for a determination letter on or before January 31, 2013. 
  • Update Summary Plan Description if Needed:  Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) must be updated once every five years if the plan has been amended during the five-year period and once every 10 years for other plans.  Consider whether your SPD needs to be updated. 
  • Comply with Form 8955-SSA Reporting Requirements:  The Form 8955-SSA is the form that replaced the Schedule SSA of the Form 5500.  The Form 8955-SSA reports information about plan participants with deferred vested benefits.  Generally, the Form 8955-SSA is due by the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends (subject to a 2 1/2-month extension). 
  • Consider Impact on Employee Benefit Plans if Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) Cases:  There is a strong possibility that the Supreme Court may grant certiorari this term in a series of cases challenging Section 3 of DOMA.  Section 3 of DOMA currently provides that for purposes of federal law, “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.  Under this same Section of DOMA, “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.  DOMA does not invalidate same-sex marriages, but under DOMA certain federal benefits can only flow to opposite-sex spouses.  DOMA affects employee benefit plans because, while DOMA is the law, employers are generally free to choose whether to offer benefits to same-sex spouses.  If the Supreme Court grants certiorari and decides that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, it will have a significant impact on employee benefit plans and employer choices.  For example, all defined benefit pension plans would probably have to offer qualified joint and survivor annuities (“QJSAs”) to same-sex spouses and Section 401(k) plans would probably have to require same-sex spouses to consent to beneficiary designations.  Any Supreme Court decision would likely take effect immediately, leaving employers to scramble if they have not previously given thought to how a decision overturning DOMA might impact their employee benefit plans.  If the Supreme Court grants certiorari in the DOMA cases, we intend to publish a newsletter explaining the impact such a decision could have on employee benefit plans and the issues employers should consider in advance.  
  • Review 2013 Plan Limits:  Familiarize yourself with the 2013 plan limits.  See “Retirement Plan Limits for 2013” for more information.