DOL and IRS Health and Welfare Plan Audits: Latest Examination Initiatives, Key Legal Provisions, Avoiding Triggers

Note: CPE credit is not offered on this program

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will guide benefits counsel and advisers on the complex mechanisms, procedures, and methods used by the DOL and IRS in examining health and welfare plans of groups and organizations. The panel will discuss the latest DOL and IRS initiatives for investigations and audits, critical legal provisions, and tactics to avoid penalties.


The DOL's enforcement division and the IRS are focused on plan sponsor compliance with federal laws and regulations and have implemented initiatives to audit health and welfare plans. A DOL survey shows an increase in ERISA DOL fines from 2017 through 2019, resulting in over $1.5 billion in penalties.

Plan sponsors and employee benefits advisers must evaluate and anticipate DOL and IRS audit risks associated with their health and welfare plans and pursue a more proactive approach to remedy potential defects to avoid painful and expensive assessments.

It is not uncommon for the DOL to refer a company to the IRS for further examination and assessment of penalties after the DOL's investigative audit. Counsel and advisers of plan sponsors must possess the necessary knowledge to achieve compliant design, implementation, and maintenance of health and welfare plans.

In the event of a government audit, the employee benefits adviser's understanding of the required documentation and procedures, audit triggers, and plan provisions targeted by these agencies will help an organization survive the audit and possibly avoid penalties.

Listen as our panel provides guidance on the complex processes and pitfalls of DOL and IRS audits, critical legal provisions for health and welfare plan compliance, and tactics to limit audit risks and penalties.



  1. Overview of health and welfare plan audits
  2. IRS audit triggers and investigation focus for health and welfare plans
  3. DOL audit triggers and examination priorities of health and welfare plans
  4. Best practices for a DOL and IRS audit or investigation of employee benefits plans
  5. Preventative measures to reduce the risk of audits, compliance issues, and penalties


The panel will review these and other crucial issues:

  • DOL and IRS initiatives for health and welfare plan audits
  • Tactics and tools available to DOL and IRS to identify compliance issues and enforce penalties
  • Health and welfare plan provisions requiring careful attention
  • The most common audit triggers resulting in noncompliance penalties
  • Lesser-known health and welfare plan audit problems
  • Crafting responses to DOL or IRS audit and examination notices
  • The audit process and limiting risks of examination
  • Internal controls, document maintenance, and plan governance tools


Flett, Kimberly
Kim Flett, CPA, QPA, QKA, CHRS

Compensation and Benefits Services Managing Director

Ms. Flett is a managing director in BDO’s Compensation and Benefit Services practice. With over 20 years of...  |  Read More

Jara, José
José M. Jara


Mr. Jara has over 20 years of ERISA and employee benefits experience, ranging from governmental compliance,...  |  Read More

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