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<i>Dear Workforce</i> Where Can I Find the Best Information to Begin a Compliance Audit?

February 18, 2009
Dear Overwhelmed:

Because retirement-plan administration becomes more complex every day, regular audits are well worth the effort. The Department of Labor, through its Employee Benefit Security Administration, provides a number of online tools that may be helpful in developing an audit.

These include a reporting and disclosure guide and information about fee disclosures, fiduciary responsibilities, qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) and many other topics. They can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/.

Retirement plans also are subject to extensive regulations under the Internal Revenue Code, making it important to review plan operations from that perspective. Online tools, such as audit guidelines for examiners and tips on corrections and resources, can be found at www.irs.gov by clicking the link on "Retirement Plans Community."

Even with the tools provided by the agencies, ensuring your plans are fully compliant is a difficult technical challenge. Some plan advisors have experienced staff and well-developed technical services, should you decide that the task requires help from outside your organization.

SOURCE: Deborah A. Powell, The Segal Co., Washington, February 12, 2009

LEARN MORE: Among a string of developments in the fast-changing arena of retirement plans is this: Participants in 401(k) plans now can sue their employers for losses.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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