Steven J. Sacher, a senior partner with Kilpatrick & Cody, Washington, would like to undertake sweeping reforms to Internal Revenue Service rules, especially those dealing with non-discrimination testing, minimum vesting and participation standards and accrual of benefits to employees.
"There probably isn't a plan in America that, on applying close scrutiny, someone couldn't find some flaw or deficiency," he said.
"The system is so overloaded with minute little detail requirements that you have widespread failures to meet the requirements," said Mr. Sacher, a former associate solicitor for ERISA at the Labor Department just after the law was enacted (1974-1977) and special counsel for ERISA to the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee in the late 1970s.
"This is rough justice, but I would craft the tax rules more like Title I. We are going to get out some broad principles, and we (the IRS) will exercise considerably more discretion as to whether or not the rules are being satisfied," he suggested.
Legislation pending in Congress, popularly known as the pension simplification bill, would grant a few of Mr. Sacher's wishes.
It would make it easier for plan sponsors to prove their plans are not discriminatory and would allow public pension plans to exceed contribution limits defined by Section 415 of the IRS code.
"It's a modest move in the right direction, but it's much too timid," he says.