DOL and IRS Health and Welfare Plan Audits: Responding to Latest Examination Initiatives, Key Plan Provisions

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

Conducted on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Program Materials

This CLE webinar 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 a 71% increase in ERISA DOL fines for 2017 resulting in $1.1 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 and 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


Kartheiser, Erin
Erin A. Kartheiser

Winston & Strawn

Ms. Kartheiser represents numerous large corporations, both public and private, in connection with their full...  |  Read More

Kerpen, Joanna
Joanna C. Kerpen

Winston & Strawn

Mrs. Kerpen focuses her practice on a variety of employee benefits tax and ERISA matters related to 401(k) plans,...  |  Read More

Welsch, Christopher
Christopher W. Welsch

Winston & Strawn

Mr. Welsch advises employers on a wide range of benefits plans, including qualified plans, non-qualified plans, equity...  |  Read More

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