Blue Ridge ESOP Associates Industry News

The Importance of the ESOP Timeline

Posted by Ray Mazurowski

Dec 19, 2017 3:00:00 PM

It’s the start of a brand new Plan Year and my Blue Ridge Administrator is asking me to participate in an annual welcome call to discuss the timeline. Didn’t we just do this last year? Why does my Administrator keep pressing this matter? What is the importance? The answer to these questions is YES, the timeline is a very important tool in ensuring a successful administration process.

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Hey Employee Owner:  Do You Know Your Role and Responsibilities?

Posted by Jim Bado, Workplace Development

Dec 19, 2017 3:00:00 PM

If you asked three people at your company what their roles are as employee owners, what answers would you hear? More importantly, would the responses be the same or even similar?

At some firms, the answer is no.

It’s no because defining employee owner roles and responsibilities is an ongoing challenge. But it’s a critical issue to address because it’s an essential building block in the foundation of your company’s success. Unfortunately, if you haven’t invested the time, energy and resources to define employee roles and responsibilities, people will do it themselves. Their definitions may wander far afield of your ideas and harm your ownership culture, rather than enhance it.

Here are four practical considerations in your effort to successfully define what it means to be an employee owner at your company.

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Year-End Annual Request Process Enhanced

Posted by Melanie Ebert

Dec 19, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Providing accurate, detailed information is crucial for preparing required annual compliance testing and allocations to participants.  Blue Ridge has enhanced the client experience for our annual request for information to aid our clients in this annual requirement and have streamlined our year-end data request for a more user friendly experience. In addition, we’ve programmed our system to allow you to view the prior year responses to our questions for an easy comparison of information.  For those questions that have not had any changes you will easily be able to convert information from the prior year into the current year fields.   We hope this simplifies providing information each year.

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Beneficiary Designations - Best Practices

Posted by Scott Rademacher

Dec 19, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Quite often, we get asked by clients what they should do with the ESOP account balance of one of their participants that died without completing a beneficiary election form. So, what is one to do to prevent such a situation from happening?


A good best practice would be to include retirement plan beneficiary elections as a part of your employee on-boarding process.

If for some reason an employee fails to elect a beneficiary in the initial hiring period, it might be wise to consider identifying participants who have not elected. This can be done on an annual basis during participant statement distribution or another regularly scheduled election event.

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Reminders for Preparing and Filing your Form 945 & 1099s

Posted by Daniel Shiflett

Dec 19, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Whether you process Form 1099-Rs yourself or through a third party this is the time of year to reconcile data accurately. Below are some tips for gathering data and ensuring accurate delivery of your reporting requirements:

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IRS/DOL Corner - December 2017

Posted by Dolores P. Lawrence, CPA, QKA

Dec 19, 2017 3:00:00 PM

2017 Form 5500 – No Big Changes

The IRS has released advance copies of the 2017 Form 5500 and instructions.  The previous year’s optional compliance questions are gone, along with information about paid preparers.  We don’t expect to see a major revision for several years.

Tax Reform

As of this writing, Congress is still working out tax reform legislation.  The good news so far is that we’re not seeing anything that negatively impacts ESOPs.

Minimum Distributions and Missing Participants

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2018 Limits announced by the IRS and SSA

Posted by Tom Roback, Jr.

Dec 19, 2017 3:00:00 PM

In October, the 2018 FICA taxable wage base (the maximum amount of an employee's wages with respect to which the Old-Age, Survivor and Disability Income portion of FICA taxes is payable) had been announced as $128,700, up from this year's $127,200. On November 27, the Social Security Administration announced that it was lowering the previously calculated amount, and that the 2018 taxable wage base would instead be only $128,400.
The reason given for this unusual change was that the wage base, which reflects national average wages, had to be recalculated when a good deal of salary data that had not been included in the original calculations was received after applicable deadlines. Although small, the resulting revision was not inconsequential. Please read more about the SSA announcement here and the IRS announcement here.
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Representative Dave Brat - Sponsors HR2092

Posted by Blue Ridge ESOP Associates

Dec 13, 2017 10:25:50 AM

Thank you, Congressman Dave Brat, for speaking at The ESOP Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter in October and for sponsoring the pro-ESOP bill HR 2092 yesterday! Has your company hosted a Congressional Site visit to promote employee ownership? Is your Congress representative also a cosponsor? Find out here.
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ESCA Podcast for Latest on Tax Reform

Posted by ESCA

Dec 11, 2017 1:46:10 PM

As an employee owner, are you keeping up with the latest tax reform discussions? ESCA offers this podcast, giving an overview of how ESOP legislation might be impacted. 

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Vegas Time

Posted by Blue Ridge ESOP Associates

Nov 7, 2017 12:28:44 PM

Going to The Las Vegas ESOP Conference & Trade Show this week? We want to see you...check out the following locations where you can visit us:
The Booth - stop by and drop off your business card and enter to win a Lizzy James gift card. There will be three drawings and all winners will be announced via our Twitter page! While you're there, talk with one of our team members about managing your ESOP & 401(k) the Smart Way.

"Who wants to be a Millionaire?"
Thursday, 8:40 a.m.
"ESOP Administration: Part 1 (Basic)"
Thursday, 8:40 a.m.
"ESOP Distributions: Part 1 (Basis)"
Thursday, 2:50 p.m.
"ESOP Distributions: Part 2 (Advanced)"
Thursday, 4:00 p.m.
"Segregation of Terminated Participant Accounts"
Friday, 2:00 p.m. 
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Experience the Leader in Personalized ESOP & 401(k) Administration

Blue Ridge ESOP Associates can provide everything you need to administer your ESOP, 401(k) or combination ESOP/401(k) plan. Our full service outsourcing, which can include participant on-line services, provides worry-free  assistance for your HR or Benefits staff, leaving them free to concentrate on other responsibilities.

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