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Stakeholders call for delay, new review on IRS mortality table update

Critics of an Internal Revenue Service proposal to update mortality tables used by plan sponsors to value defined benefit plans asked the agency Thursday to defer final action until more extensive economic impact analysis is made.

At an IRS hearing in Washington, Mercer partner and chief actuary Bruce Cadenhead testified on behalf of the ERISA Industry Committee that plan sponsors also need more advance notice — at least 18 months — to adopt new mortality improvement rates. ERIC sent a letter Thursday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney asking for the rulemaking process to be reviewed.

The IRS last year proposed an update to mortality tables that have not been updated in at least 10 years, asking for comments.

American Benefits Council counsel Kent Mason testified that the rulemaking falls under President Donald Trump's executive order calling for two existing regulations to be cut before new regulations are issued. Mr. Mason also argued that cost-benefit analysis is required because updating the tables “is going to have an effect in the hundreds of millions of dollars on some companies.”