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Treasury and IRS Announce 2003-2004 Priority Guidance Plan for Employee Benefits Issues


The Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy and the IRS have announced their 2003-04 priority guidance plan. This is a list of the items that have been identified as the top areas in which guidance will be provided.

In the retirement benefit area, the list includes guidance on phased retirement arrangements; proposed nondiscrimination regulations for cash balance plans (unless Congress enacts a moratorium on the issuance of such regulations-see V, below); minimum required distribution regulations for qualified plans, guidance on Code Section 403(b) tax-deferred annuity plans, final regulations on S corporation ESOPs, guidance on the Code's age discrimination rules for qualified plans, anti-cutback guidance, guidance on use of electronic technologies for various retirement plan transactions. and model provisions for Code Section 457(b) deferred compensation arrangements.

In the areas of executive compensation, health care and other benefits, the list includes guidance on elections between taxable and nontaxable benefits; guidance on "restricted property" under Code Section 83; guidance on disability payments; guidance on health reimbursement accounts (HRAs); guidance on debit cards; guidance on health care provider incentive payments; and a revenue ruling under Code Section 4980B on Medicare entitlement as a second qualifying event under COBRA.

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