Employers and Retirement Plans reportedly earn big changes starting in 2020, including headlines noting highlights like these:

Small Employer (under 100 employees) Plan Start-Up Tax Credits for starting a new qualified retirement plan jump from $500 to up to $5,000 for three years. 

The age limit for working individuals to contribute to their IRA, which was 70 1/2 years old, has been eliminated. 

Some long-term part-time Employees may become eligible to participate in 401(k) plans after 2020. 

Business tax credits for certain Employer-paid family and medical leave originally available for 2018 and 2019 are now extended through 2020. 

Increases in penalties for not filing retirement plan returns to commence on December 31, 2019. 

Starting in 2021, all members of group plans will be allowed to file consolidated reporting forms. 

A new type of multiple employer plan called a Pooled Employer Plan (PEP) will allow separate employers to participate together in a single plan to save on administrative costs and burdens, without co-fiduciary responsibility. This would shield other members should a member of the pool fail in its obligations to the plan, such as not remitting timely contributions. 

Automatic Enrollment QACA Safe Harbor Default Rate Cap is increasing to 15%, but employees can still opt out if they choose. Other aspects of the changes for traditional and QACA safe harbors are non-elective. 

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are taking some hits. While the age for taking RMDs is increasing from 70 1/2 to 72 years of age, some designated beneficiaries may be limited in the length of time they can receive distributions. Previously, if a participant-employee or IRA owner passes away before receiving their full distribution, the beneficiary could receive the account balance over the course of their lifetime. For certain beneficiaries, it will be limited to 10 years. 

Lifetime Income annuities in employer and other sponsored defined contribution retirement plans like 401(k) and 403(b) plans will have to better explain the fine print to participants. Estimated monthly payments their retirement account balance could produce must be disclosed in annual benefit statements, to help individually better plan. Right now, the model disclosure is not yet available and does not apply to non-ERISA plans. 

With this added burden will come a new safe harbor for employers and other sponsors of defined contribution plans that add an annuity in their plan and must show due diligence in selecting an insurer. 

Lifetime Income plan participants will be able to make easier transfers between 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans and IRAs without surrender charges and penalties. 

These are just some of the highlights of the new changes. Most involve many fine print details, and tax experts should be consulted. Some of these changes go into effect December 31, 2019.