‘The Secure Act’ Sets Off Alarms at #AICPAEngage

IRA guru Ed Slott says Congressional wrangling spells chaos in planning, but maybe an opportunity for accountants. 

The "Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 of 2019" ("The Secure Act," for short) modifies the requirements for employer-provided retirement plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and other tax-favored savings accounts.

With respect to employer-provided retirement plans, the bill modifies requirements regarding

  • multiple employer plans;
  • automatic enrollment and nonelective contributions;
  • tax credits for small employers that establish certain plans;
  • loans;
  • lifetime income options;
  • the treatment of custodial accounts upon termination of section 403(b) plans;
  • retirement income accounts for church-controlled organizations;
  • the eligibility rules for certain long-term, part-time employees;
  • required minimum distributions;
  • nondiscrimination rules;
  • minimum funding standards for community newspaper plans; and
  • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums for CSEC plans (multiple employer plans maintained by certain charities or cooperatives).

The bill also includes provisions that

  • treat taxable non-tuition fellowship and stipend payments as compensation for the purpose of an IRA,
  • repeal the maximum age for traditional IRA contributions,
  • treat difficulty of care payments as compensation for determining contribution limits for retirement accounts,
  • allow penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans if a child is born or adopted,
  • expand the purposes for which qualified tuition programs (commonly known as 529 plans) may be used,
  • reinstate and increase the tax exclusion for certain benefits provided to volunteer firefighters and emergency medical responders,
  • increase penalties for failing to file tax returns, and
  • require the Internal Revenue Service to share tax information with U.S. Customs Border Protection to administer the heavy vehicle use tax.