Employee Benefits

Phased-in retirement plans—in which, for example, employees receive a portion of their pension benefits while earning a salary—are attracting attention as skilled labor shortages persist and many older employees work past normal retirement age to supplement their inadequate savings. A new report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute says educational institutions and state and local governments face fewer legal and regulatory obstacles to such plans than do private-sector employers and, therefore, are more likely to adopt them. ( www.ebri.org/prrel/pr576.htm )

Much of the opposition to proposals allowing workers to invest their Social Security contributions in stocks is based on misconceptions, says a new study from the Cato Institute. For example, researchers say, the Social Security Administration’s ability to pay retirement and survivors’ benefits would not—contrary to some reports—be diminished by letting wage earners invest a portion of their withholdings in equities. Instead, they argue, such a strategy would inject $10 trillion to $20 trillion into the U.S. economy and nearly triple benefits for workers—assuming only a 4% real return. Consequently, the study’s authors recommend granting workers a greater role in the financial management of their retirement contributions—a process now governed solely by the SSA and over which taxpayers have no direct influence. ( www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp68.pdf )


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.