Aug 11 -- The Employee Benefits Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (the Department) is publishing this Request for Information to solicit public feedback and to begin developing a public record for a number of provisions of Division T of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, (Dec. 29, 2022) (referred to as the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 or SECURE 2.0) that impact the reporting and disclosure framework of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Several sections of SECURE 2.0 establish new, or revise existing, ERISA reporting and disclosure requirements, in some cases also requiring that the Department undertake a review of existing or new requirements and submit reports to Congress on the Department's findings. The Department believes that it will be helpful to initiate several of these actions, given their commonality in affecting reporting of information to the Department and the disclosure of information to retirement plan participants and beneficiaries, in this Request for Information. Any later action by the Department on these SECURE 2.0 provisions, whether rulemaking or otherwise, will be better informed by responses to this Request for Information.
To be assured consideration, comments must be received no later than October 10, 2023.
On December 29, 2022, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, H.R. 2617 was enacted. Part of this Act, SECURE 2.0, includes provisions amending ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (the Code). Some of the provisions in SECURE 2.0 require regulations or other guidance for implementation. Other provisions direct the Department to undertake a review of certain statutory and regulatory requirements and submit reports to Congress on the Department's findings.
This Request for Information (RFI) focuses on certain SECURE 2.0 sections that principally impact, directly or indirectly, ERISA's reporting and disclosure requirements. Not all of the SECURE 2.0 provisions that affect the reporting and disclosure framework of ERISA are covered in this RFI, generally because the Department has already started or intends to initiate separate notice and comment rulemaking, actions, issue guidance, request additional information, or release reports, as appropriate, to implement these other provisions. For example, the changes to ERISA's audit requirements by section 345 of SECURE 2.0 were implemented through a recent rulemaking relating to annual reporting requirements under ERISA. In addition, the Department published a solicitation for comment on the effects of section 305 of SECURE 2.0 on the Department's Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program on February 14, 2023.
Another example of a SECURE 2.0 provision that affects reporting and disclosure but which is not addressed in this RFI is section 319 of SECURE 2.0. This provision directs the Department, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury (Treasury Department) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), to review each agency's existing reporting and disclosure requirements for retirement plans. After this review, and in consultation with a balanced group of participant and employer representatives, the agencies must report to Congress on the effectiveness of these reporting and disclosure requirements, including recommendations to consolidate, simplify, standardize, and improve such requirements. Rather than dealing with the specific substance of individual reporting and disclosure requirements under ERISA and the Code, the section 319 review is expansive in scope and calls for more generalized questions about how to best communicate information—information that can be quite complex—to the government and to workers of widely variable capabilities, enabling workers to obtain, understand, and use information about their plans and retirement. Further, these themes are to be explored in the context of a significant number of reporting and disclosure requirements under the jurisdiction of three different agencies. The Department currently intends to move forward by formally soliciting public input on the section 319 project, in coordination with the Treasury Department and PBGC, but as part of a rulemaking initiative separate from this RFI.
Apart from these exceptions, the Department believes that it will be helpful to initiate progress on the specific SECURE 2.0 items set forth below in this RFI by expeditiously obtaining feedback from a diverse set of stakeholders from the earliest stages of the process and building an initial public record. This feedback will inform more specific, detailed rulemaking or other guidance on such provisions in the future, including completion of multiple reports to Congress, as required by SECURE 2.0. Moving forward, as relevant, the Department will continue to consult with other agencies, including the Treasury Department and PBGC.
The purpose of this RFI, as explained above, is to inform future action by the Department on the following SECURE 2.0 mandates related to ERISA's reporting and disclosure provisions. The Department invites comments, including relevant data, if available, from all interested stakeholders. The RFI includes questions about a number of distinct SECURE 2.0 provisions. . . . [31 questions]