Katharine G. Shaw
Senior Attorney

Location: Milwaukee
T: 414.225.1424
F: 414.278.3624
111 E. Kilbourn Avenue, Suite 1400
Milwaukee, WI 53202-6613

Publications: Attorney Katharine G. Shaw


  • REMINDER: It’s Time for School Districts, Municipalities and Other Tax-Exempt Entities That Sponsor 403(b) Plans to Adopt New Pre-Approved Documents

    June 5, 2018

    Reminder: It’s not too soon for sponsors of 403(b) plans to start the process of adopting IRS pre-approved plan documents. Under a new program, local governments, school districts and other tax-exempt entities that sponsor retirement plans under Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) can for the first time receive IRS determination letters that their plan documents comply with all legal requirements. In order to receive the protection of an IRS determination letter, a plan sponsor needs to adopt a pre-approved plan document before March 31, 2020. Background Under a 403(b) plan, eligible employees of governments, public school systems and...



  • Is it an Employment Agreement or a Deferred Compensation Plan? It could be both.

    May 23, 2018

    Deferred compensation rules under Internal Revenue Code Section 409A cover a broad range of post-employment payment arrangements. Do you have a deferred compensation plan hiding in an employment contract or employee handbook? Internal Revenue Code Section 409A provides detailed rules applicable to deferred compensation plans, including those that cover public employees. Many employers (both public and private) assume that the use of the word “plan” means that Section 409A only applies to formal arrangements involving multiple employees, such as non-qualified salary deferral programs and (for public employers) Code Section 457 plans. However, Section 409A also specifically includes deferred compensation arrangements that cover...



  • Tax Reform Changes for Employee Benefits

    January 19, 2018

    While many changes that would have affected employee benefits were discussed as a part of tax reform in 2017, only a few made it in to the final bill. In particular, they include: the elimination of the employer deduction for parking and transit benefits; the extension of the deadline for an employee to roll over a loan offset. Transportation Expenses Prior to tax reform, employers could deduct the cost of providing employees with “qualified transportation expenses” such as parking and transit fees. In addition, employees receiving these benefits could deduct their value, up to a monthly limit ($260 for 2018). Going forward, employers...



  • Tax Reform Impact: Employers Should Evaluate the Cost of Employee Transportation Benefits

    January 10, 2018

    One of the changes included in the final tax reform bill last year was the elimination of the employer deduction of the cost of company-provided parking and transit expenses. As a result, companies that either pay for employee parking or reimburse transit fees should evaluate the financial effect of the changes and decide whether to continue providing the benefit. Background Prior to tax reform, employers could deduct the cost of providing employees with “qualified transportation expenses” such as parking and transit fees. In addition, employees receiving these benefits could deduct their value, up to a monthly limit ($260 for 2018). Many employers...



  • New IRS and Social Security Administration Dollar Limits

    October 30, 2017

    The IRS has released adjusted dollar limits for employer-sponsored retirement and welfare plans, as well as for individual retirement vehicles effective as of January 1, 2018. Most of these limits have been increased for the coming calendar year. In addition, the Social Security Administration increased the taxable earnings wage base from $127,200 in 2017 to $128,700 for 2018. Plan sponsors should update their payroll and plan administration systems to take into account the new limits. In addition, sponsors of safe harbor 401(k) plans can now prepare and send their 2018 annual safe harbor notices showing the contribution limits for the coming year. Retirement...



  • It’s Time for Tax-Exempt Entities to Restate Their 403(b) Plans

    August 25, 2017

    Under a new IRS program, tax-exempt entities who sponsor 403(b) retirement plans can adopt pre-approved documents that include determination letters that confirm the tax-qualified status of their plans. Plan sponsors need to adopt pre-approved plans before March 31, 2020, in order to qualify for the program. Under a 403(b) plan, eligible employees can elect to make pre-tax contributions towards the cost of their own retirement benefits. The accumulated savings is most often used to purchase an annuity when the participant retires. Until now, a plan sponsor could not receive a determination from the IRS that its 403(b) plan satisfied all...



  • Annuitant, Be Aware! Reemployment May Cause a Suspension of Benefits

    August 24, 2017

    Former employees who are currently collecting benefits under the Wisconsin ETF should carefully consider the potential effect of resuming work for a WRS employer on their benefit payments. The reemployment rules can be confusing, and take into account the dates of the annuitant’s prior WRS employment. Annuitants who previously terminated their WRS employment before July 2, 2013. These annuitants have the choice of continuing ETF benefits during their re-employment or suspending payments and resuming credits (if eligible) under the WRS during their new employment. Rehired annuitants make this election through their new employer. An annuitant who elects to continue ETF payments...



  • It’s Time for Tax-Exempt Entities to Restate Their 403(b) Plans

    July 14, 2017

    Under a new program, tax-exempt entities who sponsor retirement plans under Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) can receive confirmation that their plan documents comply with all IRS requirements. In order to receive the protection of an IRS determination letter, a plan sponsor needs to adopt a pre-approved plan document before March 31, 2020. Background Under a 403(b) plan, eligible employees of 501(c)(3) entities and public school systems can elect to make contributions towards their own retirement benefits. (Cooperative hospital service organizations, as well as ministers, may also be eligible to establish 403(b) programs.)The benefit paid under a...



  • New Law Allows Small Employers to Establish HRA's for Their Employees

    February 16, 2017

    Under a new law signed by President Obama on December 13, 2016, qualified small employers may now contribute to health reimbursement accounts (HRA's) to help employees with eligible medical expenses, including health insurance premiums. This change provides small employers who do not offer group health plans with a new option for assisting their employees with the cost of health care. Background The 21st Century Cures Act signed last year overrides the prior IRS and DOL interpretations and creates a new category of HRA. Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Accounts (QSEHRA) may be established by applicable small employers who are not otherwise...



Website Developed by: Smart Interactive Media