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Volume 7/Winter 2008 employee plans news PROTECTING RETIREMENT BENEFITS THROUGH EDUCATING CUSTOMERS Internal Revenue Service Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division A Publication of Employee Plans EP Connections: Interview with Michael Julianelle An interview with the new Director, Employee Plans, on his priorities for the upcoming year...more on page 2 Highlights of Retirement News for Employers Retirement plan topics are featured in articles such as “Common Errors Uncovered in Audi
  Volume 7/Winter 2008 employee plans news PROTECTING RETIREMENT BENEFITS THROUGH EDUCATING CUSTOMERS Internal Revenue ServiceTax Exempt and GovernmentEntities DivisionA Publication of Employee Plans EP Connections: Interview withMichael Julianelle An interview with the new Director, Employee Plans,on his priorities for the upcoming year... more on page 2 Interim Amendment List Has Been Updated  The list of 2007 Interim and Discretionary Amendments hasbeen updated for §1.401(k)1(e)(8)... more on page 4 Critical Priorities...with Monika Templeman  Ms. Templeman discusses the importance of partneringwith practitioners... more on page 5 We’ve Been Busy  Employee Plans News  has been busy in November.See our News Flash and three Special Editions... more on page 6 Highlights of  Retirement News for Employers Retirement plan topics are featured in articles such as“Common Errors Uncovered in Audits of SEP andSIMPLE IRA Plans”... more on page 6 Get Your EIN Online  Taxpayers can now apply for an Employer IdentificationNumber online using a new irs.gov web application... more on page 8 Benefits Conferences Coming to a Site Near You  The Los Angeles Benefits Conference and the University ofSouth Carolina’s Moore School of Business AnnualRetirement &Benefits Management Seminar are fastapproaching... more on page 12 And Our Regular Columns Employee Plans Published Guidance.......................................................................7Web Spins.................................................................................................................8The Corner of Forms & Pubs....................................................................................9PBGC Insights.........................................................................................................10DOL Corner..............................................................................................................11We’re Glad You Asked!............................................................................................12Calendar of EP Benefits Conferences.....................................................................13  EP Connections: Interview with Michael Julianelle Michael Julianelle, Director of Employee Plans, recently sat down with  EmployeePlans News to discuss his priorities for the upcoming year. Welcome back to Employee Plans. What are your thoughts about returning to EP? I am absolutely thrilled to be back in Employee Plans. My previous assignment in EP was aspecial time as I saw first hand that working with intelligent, committed, and passionate peoplethat strive for success is a wonderful thing. Ensuring interaction between EP Examinations,Rulings & Agreements, and Customer Education & Outreach will be my primary focus. TheseEP offices will continue to work together to develop, implement, and deliver effectivecompliance programs and strike the right balance between service and enforcement.Teamwork has always been the key to success in EP and I hope to live up to the Carol “ Gold”  standard I learned during my previous assignment in EP. What priorities will you focus on as EP Director? ã Protecting plan participants ã Listening to the benefits practitioner community ã Enhancing our relationship with the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and GovernmentEntities (ACT) ã Developing employees’ skills and providing training for them to do their job in administeringthe law ã Doing the right thing  even when it’s difficultI care about plan participants and employers that sponsor retirement plans. EP’s mission is vital to thewellbeing of all Americans. I value our partnership with the benefits community in promoting soundretirement plan administration.EP will face challenges as we continue to help sponsors, participants, and practitioners understandand comply with the law. Partnering with the benefits practitioner community is critical to the successof our programs. In future editions of this newsletter, I will share the challenges that we face together. How important is the Staggered Remedial Amendment Period Revenue Procedure to providingtimely, accurate, and responsive determination letter service? In the past, when new legislation was enacted, requests for determination letters flooded into EP,creating massive backlogs. To address the backlogs we used examination agents to processdetermination letters. This dramatically reduced our audit presence, creating opportunities for peopleto abuse the private retirement system. Even with this additional help from EP Examinations it stilltook us years to complete processing these determination letter backlogs.The staggered determination letter system was designed to provide more predictability both to thedetermination letter and examinations processes. The staggered procedure is still a new process inwhich we are learning. One item we have learned concerns timing of determination lettersubmissions. Because 73% of Cycle A applications were submitted in the two weeks prior to the cycleending on January 31, 2007, we experienced a “minispike” in inventory. We had hoped that manyapplications would be submitted earlier. This “minispike” resulted in an instant backlog causing alonger response time in the issuance of determination letters. One of our priorities is to encourageemployers and practitioners to submit their determination letter requests earlier in each cycle. We arecurrently working Cycle A applications with the goal of closing 60% by January 31, 2008, and to beginprocessing Cycle B applications. continued on page 3  2  EP Connections... continued from page 2  Can you tell us why an increased EP audit presence is so vital? The overriding objective of the EP examinations program is to develop and integrate complianceand enforcement programs that have a positive impact on the retirement plans system. Our role isto make sure that the plan is operating in accordance with the plan terms and providing appropriatebenefits to plan participants. Obviously, when our presence diminishes, the opportunity fornoncompliance increases. We strive to avoid that as much as possible. Considering that there areover one million filers, we will focus our efforts on those returns that demonstrate audit potentialand then spend additional time only on those returns that indicate areas of noncompliance. Oneway to do this is by refining our inventory selection methods using a market segment approach,and then using information derived from those examinations in order to better select returns in thefuture. We’ll also improve our analysis of the data we have at hand to ensure we are focused onour critical priorities and we will remain nimble by shifting our resources to areas of potentialabuse. Our expansion into abusive schemes is an example of this.As stated in Revenue Procedure 6422, an examinations program should be both reasonable andvigorous. It should be conducted with as little delay as possible and with appropriate courtesy andconsiderateness. It should also be vigorous in requiring compliance with the law. In applying thisconcept, we will look at issues from the customer’s perspective to improve the process and tomake it less burdensome on everyone. In summary, EP Examinations recognizes our responsibilityfor maintaining the private retirement system, borne through compliance enforcement with acustomer focus. What efforts are underway to improve the service that is provided to the benefitscommunity? Let me address your question in terms of improvements to our educational/outreach services.In 2008 EP will accomplish the following: ã Expand the scope of EP events offered to the community. For example, we are developinga workshop to increase small business employers’ awareness and knowledge of ourretirement plan correction programs. The workshop will cover our new “fixit guides”outlining how to find, fix, and avoid common plan mistakes. ã Increase plain language information for the community. Our goal is to enhance Employee Plans News   and Retirement News for Employers  to include more relevantcontent for their respective audiences and provide plain language information, with afocus on guidance related to the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA). All informationrelated to PPA will be noted in the  PPA of 2006 Chart (sorted by topic) and PPA of2006 Chart (sorted by Code/ERISA section) . ã Assess the effectiveness of EP outreach products. By conducting dialogues with ourcustomers, we can validate and improve our products. The first priority will be on sponsor/ employerbased products . ã Use video to educate the community. For example, we will host 30 minutes of EP producedvideos on an external web site enabling customers to link from our web page. One video ispromoting  The Navigator  . ã Enhance education to plan participants/employees. For example, we are developing amarketing campaign to promote the upcoming enhancement of the “Plan Participant/ Employee” segment( www.irs.gov/ep) and “Timing is Everything.” This effort’s signatureitem will include a video on “What You Can Expect to Get Out of Your Retirement Plan”  based on “life events.” continued on page 4  3  EP Connections... continued from page 3  Where can the benefits community find out more about EPcompliance programs? The best place is to visit the “Retirement Plans Community” web page at www.irs.gov/ep and view the FY 2008 EP Work Plan . The work plansets forth EP’s strategies, operating priorities, goals, and objectives forthis year. How can the benefits community share their thoughts with you? Send an email to my attention at RetirementPlanComments@irs.gov . Please share with me ideas on how EP can better protect planparticipants or how EP can better implement and deliver our complianceprograms. I welcome the community’s ideas.ã Interim Amendment List Has Been Updated The list of 2007 Interim and Discretionary Amendments has beenupdated for §1.401(k)1(e)(8). Section 1.401(k)1(e)(8) provides thatwith respect to compensation that is paid (or would have been paid butfor a cash or deferred election) in plan years beginning on or afterJuly 1, 2007, a cash or deferred election can only be made with respectto amounts that are compensation within the meaning of §§415(c)(3)and 1.415(c)2. In addition, footnote 1 has been modified to reflect aconcern that has been raised with the Service regarding whether anamendment is required for gapperiod income based on the finalregulations under §402(g). There is a pending technical correctionregarding gapperiod income. The Service is looking at this issue andwill address it as soon as possible.ã Employee Plans News  Employee Plans News  ( EPN  ) is a free,quarterly newsletter providing retirementplan information for retirement planpractitioners. EPN  is prepared by theIRS’s Employee Plans (Tax Exempt andGovernment Entities) office.For your convenience, EPN  includesInternet links – identified by the blueunderlined text – to referencedmaterials. How to Subscribe EPN  is distributed exclusively throughIRS email. Sign up for your freesubscription by going to the RetirementPlans Community web page  andselecting “Newsletters” in the left pane.Prior editions of the EPN  are alsoarchived there. Send Comments/Suggestions to: EP Customer Education & OutreachSE:T:EP:CEO1111 Constitution Ave., N.W., PE4C3Washington, DC 20224FAX: (202) 2839525EMail: RetirementPlanComment   s@irs.govHave a Question?For taxpayer assistance withretirement plans technical andprocedural questions: Please call (877) 8295500 or visit the“Contact EP/Services” section at www.irs.gov/ep .  For questions relating to retirementincome, IRAs, Roth IRAs, educationalIRAs, medical savings accounts, andsection 125 cafeteria plans: Please call (800) 8291040.ã In October 2007, Michael Julianelle was selected as Director,Employee Plans. He has worked for the IRS in a variety of positions since 1978. Recently, he was Director of Government Entities for TE/GE after serving as EP Examinations Director from 2004 to 2006. Prior to that, he served as the International Area Director for Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Division, where he was responsible for SB/SE’s Worldwide Operations, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories. Mr. Julianelle also developed and managed the Offshore Territory Program, specializing in offshore transactions and abusive scheme promoters. He holds a B.S. degree in Accounting from the University of Connecticut. ã   4
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