Feds Unveil New Guidance Schedule

August 10, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Federal officials have given a preview of the areas on which they will provide legal and regulatory guidance in the next year.

Included in the 27-page Priority Guidance Plan are a variety of tax issues to be considered at the request of taxpayers, tax practitioners and industry groups, the officials said in a news release.

Among the issues to be considered in the coming year are 254 projects dealing with issues such as:

  • guidance on the tax treatment of distributions from Roth retirement plans
  • guidance on the impact of providing a 2 ½ month grace period for flexible spending accounts on health savings accounts (HSAs)
  • regulations under section 529 regarding qualified tuition programs for higher education
  • final regulations on compliance with restrictions on in-service distributions from pension plans and related topics in connection with phased retirement arrangements. Proposed regulations were published on November 10, 2004.
  • final regulations on transmission of notices to participants through electronic means with respect to distributions from qualified retirement plans. Proposed regulations were published on July 14, 2005.
  • guidance on benefits not permitted in a defined benefit plan.
  • revenue procedure implementing the staggered remedial amendment procedures for determination letters.
  • comprehensive final regulations under section 403(b) regarding tax-favored annuities purchased by section 501(c)(3) organizations or public schools.
  • guidance on consistency between tax benefit to employer and allocations to participants in employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).
  • guidance under section 411 regarding accrual and vesting of benefits provided pursuant to qualified retirement plans.
  • update of the regulations on the definition of “highly compensated employee” under section 414(q) to reflect statutory changes since the existing regulations were issued.
  • comprehensive final regulations regarding the limitations on benefits and contributions under section 415. Proposed regulations were published on May 31, 2005.

“Guidance provides a real service to taxpayers by clarifying how the IRS interprets the law,” said IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, in the news release. “The results of the new plan, published over the next 12 months, will help taxpayers comply with the law.”

The full plan is    here.