29 CFR 2560.502c-5 - Civil penalties under section 502(c)(5).

§ 2560.502c-5 Civil penalties under section 502(c)(5).
(a) In general—
(1) Pursuant to the authority granted the Secretary under section 502(c)(5) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (the Act), the administrator of a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) (within the meaning of section 3(40)(A) of the Act) that is not a group health plan, and that provides benefits consisting of medical care (within the meaning of section 733(a)(2)), for which a report is required to be filed under section 101(g) of the Act and 29 CFR 2520.101-2, shall be liable for civil penalties assessed by the Secretary under section 502(c)(5) of the Act for each failure or refusal to file a completed report required to be filed under section 101(g) and 29 CFR 2520.101-2. The term “administrator” is defined in 29 CFR 2520.101-2(b).
(2) For purposes of this section, a failure or refusal to file the report required to be filed under section 101(g) shall mean a failure or refusal to file, in whole or in part, that information described in section 101(g) and 29 CFR 2520.101-2, on behalf of the MEWA, at the time and in the manner prescribed therefor.
(b) Amount assessed—
(1) The amount assessed under section 502(c)(5) shall be determined by the Department of Labor, taking into consideration the degree and/or willfulness of the failure to file the report. However, the amount assessed under section 502(c)(5) of the Act shall not exceed $1,000 a day, computed from the date of the administrator's failure or refusal to file the report and, except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, continuing up to the date on which a report meeting the requirements of section 101(g) and 29 CFR 2520.101-2, as determined by the Secretary, is filed.
(2) If, upon receipt of a notice of intent to assess a penalty (as described in paragraph (c) of this section), the administrator files a statement of reasonable cause for the failure to file, in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section, a penalty shall not be assessed for any day from the date the Department serves the administrator with a copy of such notice until the day after the Department serves notice on the administrator of its determination on reasonable cause and its intention to assess a penalty (as described in paragraph (g) of this section).
(3) For purposes of this paragraph, the date on which the administrator failed or refused to file the report shall be the date on which the report was due (determined without regard to any extension of time for filing). A report which is rejected under 29 CFR 2520.101-2 shall be treated as a failure to file a report when a revised report meeting the requirements of this section is not filed within 45 days of the date of the Department's notice of rejection. If a revised report meeting the requirements of this section, as determined by the Secretary, is not submitted within 45 days of the date of the notice of rejection by the Department, a penalty shall be assessed under section 502(c)(5) beginning on the day after the date of the administrator's failure or refusal to file the report.
(c) Notice of intent to assess a penalty. Prior to the assessment of any penalty under section 502(c)(5), the Department shall provide to the administrator of the MEWA a written notice indicating the Department's intent to assess a penalty under section 502(c)(5), the amount of such penalty, the period to which the penalty applies, and a statement of the facts and the reason(s) for the penalty.
(d) Reconsideration or waiver of penalty to be assessed. The Department may determine that all or part of the penalty amount in the notice of intent to assess a penalty shall not be assessed on a showing that the administrator complied with the requirements of section 101(g) of the Act or on a showing by the administrator of mitigating circumstances regarding the degree or willfulness of the noncompliance.
(e) Showing of reasonable cause. Upon issuance by the Department of a notice of intent to assess a penalty, the administrator shall have thirty (30) days from the date of service of the notice, as described in paragraph (i) of this section, to file a statement of reasonable cause explaining why the penalty, as calculated, should be reduced, or not be assessed, for the reasons set forth in paragraph (d) of this section. Such statement must be made in writing and set forth all the facts alleged as reasonable cause for the reduction or nonassessment of the penalty. The statement must contain a declaration by the administrator that the statement is made under the penalties of perjury.
(f) Failure to file a statement of reasonable cause. Failure of an administrator to file a statement of reasonable cause within the thirty (30) day period described in paragraph (e) of this section shall be deemed to constitute a waiver of the right to appear and contest the facts alleged in the notice of intent, and such failure shall be deemed an admission of the facts alleged in the notice for purposes of any proceeding involving the assessment of a civil penalty under section 502(c)(5) of the Act. Such notice shall then become a final order of the Secretary, within the meaning of 29 CFR 2570.91(g), forty-five (45) days from the date of service of the notice.
(g) Notice of the determination on statement of reasonable cause—
(1) The Department, following a review of all the facts alleged in support of no assessment or a complete or partial waiver of the penalty, shall notify the administrator, in writing, of its determination to waive the penalty, in whole or in part, and/or assess a penalty. If it is the determination of the Department to assess a penalty, the notice shall indicate the amount of the penalty, not to exceed the amount described in paragraph (c) of this section, and a brief statement of the reasons for assessing the penalty. This notice is a “pleading” for purposes of 29 CFR 2570.91(m).
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (h) of this section, a notice issued pursuant to paragraph (g)(1) of this section, indicating the Department's intention to assess a penalty, shall become a final order, within the meaning of 29 CFR 2570.91(g), forty-five (45) days from the date of service of the notice.
(h) Administrative hearing. A notice issued pursuant to paragraph (g) of this section will not become a final order, within the meaning of 29 CFR 2570.91(g), if, within thirty (30) days from the date of the service of the notice, the administrator or a representative thereof files a request for a hearing under 29 CFR 2570.90 through 2570.101, and files an answer to the notice. The request for hearing and answer must be filed in accordance with 29 CFR 2570.92 and 18.4. The answer opposing the proposed sanction shall be in writing, and supported by reference to specific circumstances or facts surrounding the notice of determination issued pursuant to paragraph (g) of this section.
(i) Service of notices and filing of statements—
(1) Service of a notice for purposes of paragraphs (c) and (g) of this section shall be made:
(i) By delivering a copy to the administrator or representative thereof;
(ii) By leaving a copy at the principal office, place of business, or residence of the administrator or representative thereof; or
(iii) By mailing a copy to the last known address of the administrator or representative thereof.
(2) If service is accomplished by certified mail, service is complete upon mailing. If service is by regular mail, service is complete upon receipt by the addressee. When service of a notice under paragraph (c) or (g) of this section is by certified mail, five (5) days shall be added to the time allowed by these rules for the filing of a statement, or a request for hearing and answer, as applicable.
(3) For purposes of this section, a statement of reasonable cause shall be considered filed:
(i) Upon mailing, if accomplished using United States Postal Service certified mail or Express Mail;
(ii) Upon receipt by the delivery service, if accomplished using a “designated private delivery service” within the meaning of 26 U.S.C. 7502(f);
(iii) Upon transmittal, if transmitted in a manner specified in the notice of intent to assess a penalty as a method of transmittal to be accorded such special treatment; or
(iv) In the case of any other method of filing, upon receipt by the Department at the address provided in the notice of intent to assess a penalty.
(j) Liability—
(1) If more than one person is responsible as administrator for the failure to file the report, all such persons shall be jointly and severally liable with respect to such failure.
(2) Any person against whom a civil penalty has been assessed under section 502(c)(5) pursuant to a final order, within the meaning of 29 CFR 2570.91(g), shall be personally liable for the payment of such penalty.
(k) Cross-reference. See29 CFR 2570.90 through 2570.101 for procedural rules relating to administrative hearings under section 502(c)(5) of the Act.
[68 FR 17505, Apr. 9, 2003]

Title 29 published on 2013-07-01

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