On May 9, 2018, the principal regulators of US employee benefits published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months.
The US Department of Labor (DOL) published its Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda, stating the agency’s current and long-term regulatory activities. The DOL’s agenda and related materials include 13 pending projects related to employee benefits, which are listed in the chart below in order of the projected timetable for next steps. (In the ordinary course, the projected dates shown on the agenda may prove to be ambitious.)
The US Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released their Third Quarter Update to the 2017-2018 Priority Guidance Plan, often informally referred to as the IRS Business Plan, which lists those issues that will be the subject of formal guidance from July 2017 through June 2018. The IRS Business Plan includes 17 pending items addressing retirement benefits, and 15 pending items addressing executive compensation, health care and other benefits. The items are listed in the chart below in the reverse order of when they first appeared on the agenda.
Projects added to the agendas since they were last published are shown in bold. There is one new DOL initiative – an exception for short-term limited duration insurance under the Affordable Care Act – and no new IRS initiatives. Presumably reflecting a change in direction, DOL also discontinued six projects initiated during the Obama Administration, relating to the claims procedure regulation, state saving arrangements for non-governmental employees, brokerage windows in retirement plans, the section 408(b)(2) disclosure regulations, target date funds, and health care continuation coverage. DOL retained the Form 5500 modernization project but changed its status to a long-term initiative.