A consideration for businesses that operate internationally is the impact that their expanded operations have on their benefit plans and tax liability. We are experienced in international benefits, including the issues that impact the structure and taxation of international plans. We advise global clients on issues relating to multinational operations, including overseas retirement accounts, cross-border transactions, foreign assets and foreign investments.
We review and design plans and programs with regard to in-patriot and ex-patriot coverage, controlled group issues, outsourcing and dual-qualification matters. Our experience includes rendering tax advice concerning the taxation of contributions, earnings and distributions as well as related tax reporting and the application of international treaties. We provide detailed analysis of international benefit structures and scenarios to help clients elect the international benefit structure that best meets their needs and goals.
Policy, Legislative and Lobbying
We devote a large portion of our time to educating and training clients on important developments in the law and industry-wide best practices. We stay ahead of changes and actively take part in formulating public policy, and have experience requesting rulings and guidance from federal agencies and drafting and lobbying for legislation important to public and private clients.
Plan Restructuring and Funding
We counsel clients on a wide range of benefit issues that stem from corporate transactions and reorganizations. We are regularly engaged in benefit restructuring matters, including amending plan policies and procedures, assisting with plan terminations and mergers, and complications associated with plan testing, qualified separate lines of business, or pension funding and cash balance or hybrid conversions.
We also advise clients on matters relating to funding issues for welfare plans, including establishing, maintaining and terminating Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations under Section 501(c)(9) of the Code and other funding arrangements.
Employee Benefits in Corporate Transactions
We conduct due diligence of employee benefits issues in connection with mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs and plant closings, including plan termination and withdrawal liability issues under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
We assist clients with benefit plan design and redesign associated with restructuring, and are often engaged to assist in last-minute problem-solving sessions to develop solutions to unforeseen benefits issues that can bring negotiations to a standstill, such as benefits liabilities (cafeteria plan spending accounts, pension, COBRA, vacation pay claims), participant claims and lawsuits, successor liability, withdrawal liability, defined benefit funding, and plan freeze, conversion, transfer, transition relief and termination issues.
Our experience includes the representation of both buyers and sellers in stock and asset purchase transactions. In either case, our focus is to protect clients from prior or future liabilities. Beginning with the diligence process, we review benefit structures and identify problem areas or potential issues that may arise as the deal progresses. We develop action plans to address concerns, including plan clean-up and continuation, merger and/or termination while being mindful of client goals with respect to employees, benefits and risks.