- New Orleans
Susan Chambers is a partner in the Tax Practice Group.
Susan concentrates her practice exclusively on employee benefits and executive compensation, including the regulatory, tax, legal and business issues that arise in employee benefit plan design and drafting, implementation, administration, and regulatory compliance. She has practiced tax and employee benefits law for more than 20 years and is certified as a tax specialist by the Louisiana State Bar Association Board of Legal Specialization. She is also a certified public accountant (inactive).
In the areas of qualified retirement plans and executive compensation, Susan works with clients to address tax and fiduciary issues involved in cash balance plans, profit-sharing plans, 401(k) plans, money purchase plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and pension plans, as well as executive deferred compensation plans. She has extensive experience in the drafting of qualified retirement plans and deferred compensation plans, employee communications, associated resolutions and consents, and service and trust agreements.
Susan has in-depth knowledge of fiduciary responsibilities, plan operations, administrative issues, and negotiating Department of Labor (DOL) and IRS audits of benefit plans. She assists plan fiduciaries with Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) fiduciary decisions, their responsibilities, investment issues, and prohibited transactions. She also provides presentations to benefit committees regarding fiduciary obligations and plan governance.
Susan regularly assists clients in correction of operational matters to maintain qualified plan status via the IRS voluntary correction program and assists clients with self-correcting ERISA fiduciary errors via the DOL voluntary fiduciary correction program. She also works with clients to ensure compliance with deferred compensation rules under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code. She has advised clients on plan issues that arise in bankruptcy, including reportable event filings with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
Susan advises clients on flexible benefit (cafeteria) plans, health plans, health savings accounts (HSAs), and the tax aspects of life, disability, and health insurance. She has direct experience with the many federal and state laws that affect health plans, including the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) on employer-sponsored group health plans. She counsels clients on related tax issues, as well as matters involving self-compliance audits and claims administration. She regularly provides guidance for group health plan administration committees, helping them remain informed on emerging issues.
Susan counsels employers and providers on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) coverage and privacy compliance, and provides training to human resources staff and supervisors regarding the confidentiality of employee health information, privacy notices, and exceptions to HIPAA.
On behalf of buyers, sellers and other parties to corporate transactions, Susan conducts due diligence reviews of benefit and retirement plans, negotiates benefit issues, drafts representations and covenants tailored to the clients’ needs, and assists with post-transaction benefits integration issues.
Susan also advises executives and HR staff on Medicare/Medigap issues, helping them respond to employee questions on enrollment and supplemental coverage, and providing planning information to senior executives. She counsels clients on the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and other welfare plan-related issues, and reviews annual Form 5500s, plan financials, and other tax filings.