The Department of Labor recently provided an extension of the deadline for providing participant fee disclosure notices. As a result, the deadline for many retirement plan sponsors to provide participant fee disclosure notices is delayed until the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014.
As we discussed in a previous client update, participant fee disclosure notices were first required to be provided by August 30, 2012. For subsequent years, the notice is generally required to be provided to participants within 12 months of the date the prior year’s notice was provided. Benefits practitioners requested that the DOL extend the deadline so that the notice may be provided with other end of year notices (for example, safe harbor contribution notices and qualified default investment alternative notices).
The DOL has granted a one-time extension of the deadline. Specifically, if a plan sponsor determines that a delay in providing the notice is in the best interest of participants, then the 2013 participant fee disclosure notice may be provided as late as 18 months after date the 2012 notice was provided. For example, if the 2012 notice was provided on August 30, 2012, the next notice may be provided as late as February 28, 2014. Many employers with calendar year plans may find it more convenient to provide the notice at the end of November 2013 with other end-of-the-year notices.
Plan sponsors that have already provided or taken significant steps to prepare for the 2013 notice may take the 18 month extension for 2014 rather than 2013.
As noted above, in order to take advantage of this relief, plan sponsors must determine that any delay in providing the notice is in the best interest of participants. This is a fiduciary decision and plan sponsors should ensure that they carefully analyze and document the reasons for the delay in providing the notice.
For more information about this or other employee benefits matters, please contact a member of our Tax, Estate Planning, and Employee Benefits Group, or call 208.344.6000.