ASC Fall 2008 Newsletter

In this issue:


TPAs can now practice before the IRS!

New Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) Program Opens the Door

ERPA Review Course - Learn more about it
The Internal Revenue Service has created a new category of practitioner – the Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) – for retirement plan professionals not otherwise permitted to represent taxpayers in front of the IRS. While attorneys, accountants, actuaries, enrolled agents and others are authorized to practice before the IRS, many retirement plan professionals are prohibited from doing so. In recognition of the need for other competent retirement plan professionals to have the ability to represent their clients in audits and other IRS proceedings, the IRS has created the new ERPA designation.
So what’s an enrolled retirement plan agent or ERPA? An ERPA is a person who has earned the ability to represent taxpayers before the IRS for certain purposes. An ERPA can represent employers involving the following programs: the Employee Plans Determination Letter program; the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS); the Employee Plans Master and Prototype and Volume Submitter program; and forms under IRS Form 5500 and Form 5300 series.
To become an ERPA, a retirement plan practitioner must show competence in the qualified plan area. Most practitioners will qualify by passing two written examinations, applying to the IRS for the designation and meeting continuing education requirements.
The IRS has selected the American Institute of Retirement Education (AIRE) to assist in the development and administration of the ERPA program. AIRE will prepare instructional materials and courses to help prepare ERPA candidates for the examinations.
AIRE has selected John Griffin and Charles Lockwood of ASCi to prepare the ERPA review courses. This 10 session series of online learning sessions will cover the learning objectives set out for the ERPA examinations.
For more information about the ERPA program, go to http://www.asc-net.com.


ASC Welcomes Judy Stevens!

With our commitment to the Defined Benefit marketplace and to excellence in client support, we are pleased to announce that Judy Stevens has joined ASC as its third actuary. PPA 06 created tremendous upheaval and uncertainty regarding funding of DB plans. In response to this, as well as ASC’s expanding client base, ASC began what turned into a year-long search to find the right actuary to join the ASC Team.
Judy started out as an analyst and was enrolled in 1991. She’s worked for TPA firms doing both DC and DB plans, and came to ASC from a large, established TPA firm where she worked for over 20 years. She has a BS and MS in Math, is an EA and a QKA, has taught classes for ASPPA and provided internal training on ASC and regulations at her former firm. She is a power user on both DB and DC plans, so she has a broad base of knowledge to contribute to our clients.
“We could not have found a better match for this position!” says Sheryl Stucky, Vice President of ASC Support.
Judy’s just getting started but says she is already enjoying the challenge and satisfaction of helping people solve their problems. She resides in Cleveland, OH with her husband and has two children and four grandchildren. In her spare time she is taking a Spanish class and enjoys doing yoga and exercise walking.
Please join us in welcoming her to the ASC Team.


Highlights of ASC’s 2008 Fall Release notes

ASC’s latest update includes many enhancements. Please refer to the October 2008 Release Update Memo for full details. Here are a few highlights:

  • The 2009 COLAS are included with this release:
    401(a)(17) Compensation 245,000, Taxable Wage Base 106,800, 415 DC $ Limit 49,000, 415 DB $ Limit 195,000, Deferral 16,500, HCE Compensation 110,000, Key Officer Compensation 160,000, Catchup 5,500. Interest rates have been updated through October 2008.
  • ASC’s manuals are now accessible directly from the system under Help>Manuals. Click the link to open.
  • A New Disbursement Wizard has been included under View>Disbursement to handle terminations, as well as hardship, loans and in-service distributions in DC/401k plans.
  • The Plan Values stored during Compliance Testing have been expanded. These plan-wide test results print on the Plan Summary report and may be found under the Plan Specs>Values screens.
  • Additional programming has been completed for our existing PPA calculations in all areas, including Plan Specs, Employee, Tables, Calculations and Reports. PPA has presented significant challenges to the retirement community. ASC is working with the IRS, alongside other software vendors, to determine appropriate assumptions pending technical corrections from the legislature. Further programming will be completed as issues are clarified, so please check our website regularly for updates. From our website, you may also view our PPA video “ASC PPA Update demo” or our “DB Defined Benefit PPA Documentation in progress” found under the Documentation tab.