WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration today announced proposed amendments in its procedures governing the filing and processing of Prohibited Transaction Exemption applications. 

Section 408(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 directs the Secretary of Labor to establish procedures for granting administrative exemptions. The Proposed Exemption Procedure Regulation amends the department’s prohibited transaction exemption procedure published in 2011.

“The proposed amended exemption procedure will create more clarity, certainty and transparency around the exemption application process,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Ali Khawar. “Ensuring consistent and transparent procedures for exemptions from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s prohibited transaction rules will benefit applicants as well as the public.”

The Proposed Exemption Procedure Regulation would promote the department’s prompt and efficient consideration of all exemption applications by, among other things:

Clarifying the types of information and documentation required to complete an application.
Revising the definitions of a qualified independent fiduciary and qualified independent appraiser to ensure their independence.
Clarifying the content of specific reports and documents applicants must submit to ensure that the department receives sufficient information to make the requisite findings under ERISA Section 408(a) to issue an exemption.
Updating various timing requirements to ensure clarity in the application review process.
Specifying items that are included in the administrative record for an application and when the administrative record is available for public inspection.
Expanding opportunities for applicants to submit information to the department electronically. 

Read the notice of the proposed amendments. The department urges plan representatives and other interested parties to provide input on the proposal during the public comment period.

Learn more about the Employee Benefits Security Administration and its work to protect employer-sponsored healthcare and retirement plans. 

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