Because achievement comes in many forms FP: Individual Tax & Financial Planning
EB: Employee Benefits RP: Retirement Plans

White Paper:

Managing Retirement Benefits
in Today's Economy

Employees and employers, now more than ever, need to take the appropriate steps to ensure that prudent decisions are made in respect to employees saving at an adequate deferral rate, establishing an appropriate asset allocation mix, and planning to replace income throughout their retirement.

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News:

Final regulations for Employer Shared Responsibility under the ACA

On February 10th the government issued final regulations regarding the “Employer Shared Responsibility” (ESR) requirements of the Affordable Care Act. This is often referred to as the law’s “Pay or Play” feature.

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News:

Form 5500 - Electronic Filing Requirement

There is a new mandatory electronic filing requirement (known as "EFAST2") that now applies to your Form 5500 filings.

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White Paper:

Creating Competition through Limited and Tiered Provider Networks

With the continued upward pressure on cost and pricing constraints imposed by Health Care Reform, insurers and health plans are exploring new ways to drive consumer and provider behavior.

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Recent Industry News

At the Summit

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Retirement Plans
August 2014
Congress Provides Pension Funding Relief for Defined Benefit Plan Sponsors

Congress recently passed the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 (HTFA) and President Obama signed the bill into law on August 8th. This legislation includes an extension of MAP-21 pension interest rate smoothing as a revenue
item to help finance the Highway Trust Fund.

July 2014
Q2 2014 Market Update Available!

April 2014
Q1 2014 Market Update Available!

March 2014
Department of Labor Update

Proposed Regulation to Require a Guide to Assist Plan Fiduciaries in Reviewing 408(b)(2) Disclosures

October 2013
IRS Announces 2014 Pension Plan Limits

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced the cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for Tax Year 2014.

September 2013
U.S. Treasury and IRS Revenue Ruling 2013-17

Guidance on Application of Same-Sex Marriage

On August 29th, the U.S. Treasury and IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17 to address marriage of same-sex individuals for federal law purpopses. 

August 2013
DOL Provides Relief for Second Round of 404(a)(5) Disclosures

On July 22, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2013-02, which announced a transitional enforcement policy regarding the due date for the second round of 404(a)(5) participant disclosure regulations.

Employee Benefits
June 2014
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Fee Due by July 31, 2014

Executive Summary: The PCORI fee is a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) designed to fund research into and publish information about evidence based medicine to help doctors and patients to make informed healthcare decisions. The PCORI fee applies to most health insurance policies (typically excluding Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts) with policy years ending after Sept 30, 2012. The fee, imposed on plan sponsors and insurance companies, starts at $1 per covered member in year 1, increases to $2 in year 2, and will be adjusted to reflect inflation in subsequent years.

Filing is due by July 31 of the year following the end of the plan year. Plans with plan years ending on October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012 paid 1st year fees in July, 2013. Those plans will pay 2nd year fees this year. The balance of plans (those with plan years ending January 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013) will pay first year fees in 2014 (due by July 31), using IRS Form 720 (see instructions here: IRS Form 720)

February 2014
90 Day Waiting Period Requirement and Employee Orientation Periods

REMINDER: This is a reminder about the "Waiting Period" requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  Effective for plan years beginning January 1, 2014 and later, once any employee becomes eligible for benefits, coverage must begin no later the 91st calendar day following such eligibility.  So, for example, if a new, benefit eligible employee is hired on March 1, their coverage must begin no later than May 30.  This applies to all employees (full or part time) who are eligible for your plan based on your rules.

February 2014
Government Issues Final Regulations Regarding the “Pay or Play” Requirements of the Affordable Care Act

On February 10th the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department issued “Final Regulations” governing the implementation of one of the next phases of the Affordable Care Act. This aspect of the law, called the “Employer Shared Responsibility” (ESR) is often referred to as the law’s “Pay or Play” feature because it includes potential penalties for certain employers that fail to offer coverage that provides “minimum value” and that is deemed “affordable” under the law.

This brief summary is intended to provide an overview of how the newly issued final regulations may apply to you.

December 2013
End of the Year Action Items for Benefit Plans

As 2013 comes to a close, it's the time of year to review those end-of-the-year benefit plan "action items" that may require your attention.

 

November 2013
MA Health Connector Eliminates Section 125 Plan and HIRD Requirements

Massachusetts Health Connector Eliminates Section 125 Plan and HIRD Requirements

On October 28th the Massachusetts Health Connector initiated significant changes to four key components of the Massachusetts Health Reform law. The changes, announced in Bulletin 03-13, took steps to eliminate a conflict between Massachusetts law and some provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are designed to further align Massachusetts law with the ACA. Although the Bulletin announces the filing of legislation to enact the changes into law, it also says that the provisions should be considered effective immediately.

The announced changes will repeal the following Massachusetts health reform provisions:

-Section 125 plan requirement

-The recently created Section 125 Notification requirement

-Employer Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (Employer HIRD) report

-Free Rider Surcharge (which provided for potential penalties for employers who failed to offer a Section 125 plan)

Individual Tax & Financial Planning
November 2013
New White Paper Available!

Net Investment Tax in 2013

Starting in 2013 high income taxpayers [whose income is at or above $200,000] may be subject to two new Medicare taxes which consist of a 0.9% tax on earned income and self-employment income, and a 3.8% tax on net investment income.

October 2013
Tips for Managing Your Finances After a Divorce

Summit Financial Strategies Financial Planning Insight

August 2013
Clarifying the Home Office Deduction for both Employees and Business Owners

Summit Financial Strategies Tax Insight

July 2013
Alternative Investments

Summit Financial Strategies Financial Planning Insight

Today’s economic landscape is forcing us to reconsider what we thought we knew about diversification.

July 2014
Market Update for the Quarter Ending June 30, 2014

April 2014
Market Update for the Quarter Ending March 31, 2014

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Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member www.finra.org and www.sipc.org, a Registered Investment Adviser. Fixed insurance products and services, as well as benefits consulting and plan administration, offered by Summit Financial Corporation are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth. Fixed insurance products and services, as well as tax services, offered by Summit Financial Strategies, Inc. are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth. This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the states of AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MI, NV, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside these states due to various state regulations and registration requirements regarding investment products and services.