Need to Know: SECURE Act is Signed Into Law

January 14, 2020

President Trump signed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act into law on Dec. 20. The bill was tucked into the 1,700 page, $1.4 trillion Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 1865, as amended) to fund half the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2020, which began Oct. 1. The House of Representatives approved H. R 1S65 on Dec. 17, followed by the Senate on Dec. 19. Retirement and tax professionals should pay close attention to the effective dates, as several provisions became effective on the date of enactment, while numerous others are set to become effective on Jan. 1, 2020.


The legislation includes a provision providing for a remedial plan amendment period until the 2022 plan year (2024 plan year for certain governmental plans), or a later date if the Treasury Department provides one, for any plan amendment required under the SECURE Act and its accompanying regulations. 


Legislative Background


Last May, the SECURE Act breezed through the House and it looked as if the legislation was on its way to quick enactment before getting bogged down in the Senate for the past six months for reasons unrelated to retirement policy. And while many industry observers remained bullish on the year-end prospects for enactment of the SECURE Act, there was some doubt beginning to creep into the conversations.


Many of the provisions were drawn from earlier bipartisan bills, including the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) that had been put forward by former Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in 2016, as well as recommendations made in 2015 by the Senate Finance Committee's Savings & Investment Bipartisan Tax Working Group.