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AICPA comments on Bush Administration's proposals on retirement plans.

The AICPA provided comments on President Bush's Fiscal Year 2005 budget proposal as it pertains to efforts to simplify the employer-provided retirement plan rules. While applauding the effort in general, the AICPA expressed its concern that the simplification efforts may have unintentional, broadly applicable consequences.

Specifically, the AICPA said that it believed the proposed changes not only do not encourage small employers to offer retirement savings plans for their employees, but may actually encourage small employers that currently offer retirement plans to terminate their retirement programs. Burdensome reporting requirements stemming from the consolidation of plans as proposed would be a likely culprit.

Moreover, the AICPA said, any proposal that requires employers to redesign their plans would likely decrease sponsorship of retirement plans among small employers. Establishing and maintaining qualified retirement plans is very costly for employers. Not only will plan documents need to be revised, the cost of a ruling must be added, all employee communications must be changed, new software must be developed, plan administrators must be reeducated, and the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service will need to re-invent the filings, forms and procedures by which they monitor compliance.

Simplification, however, will encourage employers to keep retirement plans, according to the AICPA. As an example, the AICPA cited simplifying the definition of compensation and repealing the top-heavy discrimination rules which would ease reporting requirements.

To read the comment letter from Tax Executive Committee Chairman Robert A. Zarzar, go to ResourceCenters/Tax/Employee+Benefits/ fy2005.htm.

Lisa Winton,
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Title Annotation:legislation
Author:Winton, Lisa
Publication:CPA Letter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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