DOL and Treasury Update 2015-2016 Regulatory Agendas for Employee Benefits

The Tax Management Transfer Pricing Report ™ provides news and analysis on U.S. and international governments’ tax policies regarding intercompany transfer pricing.

By W. Mark Smith, Esq., and Brittany Edwards-Franklin, Esq.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, GA  

The principal regulators of U.S. employee benefits have recently published updates to their guidance plans for the coming months.

On November 19, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated its  Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda. This publication takes the form of a Federal Register notice to comply with certain administrative requirements. The DOL's agenda and related materials include 15 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.)

On October 23, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released their First Quarter Update to the 2015-2016 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 2015 through June 2016. The IRS Business Plan includes 32 pending items addressing retirement benefits and 16 pending items addressing executive compensation, health care and other benefits. They are listed in the chart 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 are two new DOL initiatives.

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