The end of 2015 brought a lot of changes that affect or could affect the insurance and planning industry, here is the summary of everything that changed:
On December 18, 2015 the House and Senate approved the combined spending and tax deal (H.R. 2029), and it was signed by the President and enacted into law on the same day. The deal includes $1.1 trillion used to fund the U.S. government through September 2016 and $680 billion in tax breaks. Also included in the package are a number of policy riders and funding limitations used to target controversial government programs such as Obamacare, the oil export ban and Planned Parenthood.
DOL Fiduciary Strategy 2016
We anticipate the DOL releasing the rule during the first half of 2016, and Solve Ur Puzzles will continue to work with Congressional leaders, the administration and our industry partners to help influence the process. Most notably, SUP continues to partner closely with Congressmen Richard Neal (D-MA), Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Phil Roe (R-TN) to promote alternative legislation - released Friday, December 18, 2015 – that will provide a sensible and balanced solution to the DOL’s rule.
SUP will continue to work with DOL to help shape the final bill prior to release. For this reason, we will continue to need your support in voicing our concerns about the DOL rule prior to its release next year. Please work with your company’s organizations and your industry associations to keep opposing this ruling that could drastically affect the way our business is conducted. This is also the time to start taking a look at your practice and seeing if changes need to be made to your systems and working with clients if this occurs.
The tax extenders package includes a permanent extension of tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes. The provision permanently extends the ability of individuals at least 70½ years of age to exclude from gross income qualified charitable distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts. The exclusion may not exceed $100,000 per taxpayer in any tax year. Certainty of this provision helps the industry provide a more useful tool for investors to effectively manage their charitable giving.
Financial Services Provisions
Included in the final deal were two small but helpful provisions pertaining to the insurance industry, and the financial services sector as a whole. One such provision, “The Policyholder Protection Act of 2015,” prohibits federal banking regulators from moving the assets of state-regulated insurance companies, structured under larger financial firms, to a bank if the state insurance regulator determines the transfer would harm the status of the insurer.
Earlier this fall, the Policyholder Protection Act of 2015 passed with unanimous bipartisan support out of the House Financial Services Committee. The provision is one of the top priorities in Washington for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and is supported by American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) and numerous other insurers and insurance organizations.
The other provision includes a study on the impact of the rules implemented under the Dodd-Frank Act. While not considered “legislative language,” the deal does include a Congressional request for a study on the impact of the rules which have already been implemented from the Dodd-Frank Act. There does not appear to be a set timeline for the study’s completion.
With two-thirds of Dodd-Frank rules still not finalized five years after the bill’s passage, an impact study may identify provisions of the law that could benefit from technical or legislative fixes prior to full and final implementation of Dodd-Frank.
Rodney Mogen, is the president of solveurpuzzles, a business focused company. Solve ur puzzles helps three groups: Small Businesses, Financial Advisors/Agents, and Local Government Entities. Rodney is also a small business advisor focused on developing financial strategies for small business owners and helping them develop their own strategy and ideas to grow, sell, develop the way they want. He is focused on creating proper financial strategies for Advisors and business owners to assist them in their day to day duties by solving their financial puzzles. Rodney is also the Director of Financial Strategy for The Evans Group. Check out more information at www.solvurpuzzles.com.