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Lowell J. Walters

Lowell J. Walters

Attorney

Overview

Lowell Walters helps employers minimize their risks while offering meaningful benefits to employees. He minimizes risks by addressing Internal Revenue Code and ERISA issues facing employee benefit plans, including reviewing documents and provider contracts to point out “problem areas;” addressing concerns raised by the employer or another advisor; assisting with the fiduciary obligations of hiring service providers (through RFPs or otherwise); and representing employers whose plans are being investigated or audited by the Department of Labor or Internal Revenue Service. Lowell helps employers offer meaningful benefits using his skills in plan design and his ability to work as a team with other advisors who implement portions of the plan.

Lowell takes pride in communicating complex issues understandably and offering practical solutions. When clients have questions, he addresses the questions asked, the questions that should have been asked, and the follow-up questions that are likely to arise.

Lowell married his college sweetheart and has two wonderful children. He strives to balance his devotion to his family with his devotion to his clients.

Featured Insights

Experience


Representative Examples

  • Defended an employer from an IRS assessment of about $140,000 for allegedly failing to fulfill its Affordable Care Act obligations. Using some of the strategies outlined here, the IRS agreed to reduce the penalties to $0.
  • Protected an employer from entering into an unfairly one-sided services agreement by identifying services the retirement plan service provider agreed to perform verbally, but failed to document in the contract process. Rewrote proposed contract provisions that would have allowed the service provider to avoid compensating the employer and the plan if it performed its services incorrectly.
  • Convinced a surgical group that wanted to correct its plan because it was misworded that it would be in its best financial and other interests to simply amend the plan going forward, thus avoiding the cost of preparing a correction.
  • Assisted a hospital spinoff in negotiating a purchase price offset to address the cost of vesting employees who were being terminated.
  • Strengthened the case of a class action client sued for improper COBRA notices by reviewing the notice and preparing legal arguments on the issue of how it complied and why any deficiencies were immaterial. The complaint was dismissed days after we filed our motion to dismiss.
  • Reduced potential liabilities during a legal review of a client health plan document from a major insurance company by identifying discrepancies under mental health parity requirements, advised on how to correct those discrepancies, and eliminated risks of having to provide additional mental health benefits.
  • Provided advice to multiple clients on transgender issues, including whether coverage of transgender surgeries is mandatory when a patient suffers from gender dysmorphia; whether someone waives the ability to get treatments normally reserved for a particular sex when they indicate they are a different gender on their insurance forms; and, what the obligations of a claims administrator are when handling transgender claims for companies that might be subject to inconsistent requirements.


Retirement Plan Experience

  • 401(a) plans (money purchase pension plans, profit sharing plans, traditional and cash balance defined benefit plans)
  • 401(k) plans (including safe harbor, cross-tested, and automatic enrollment plans)
  • 403(b) plans (ERISA and non-ERISA)
  • 457(b) plans (governmental and tax-exempt)
  • 457(f) plans
  • 409A Nonqualified plans
  • 175/185 Insurance Premium Tax Share Plans
  • Florida Retirement System Opt Out Plans
  • Deferred Retirement Option Programs


Welfare Plan Experience

  • 125 Cafeteria plans
  • ERISA-only plans
  • Wrap documents
  • Non-ERISA individual or voluntary plans
  • Medical reimbursement plans (HRAs, FSAs, HSAs)
  • Self-insured medical plans
  • Commercially–insured medical plans
  • Stop-loss insurance
  • Various other welfare plan arrangements (including wellness programs, dependant care assistance programs, adoption assistance programs, vacation pay conversion programs, and education assistance programs)
  • Governmental retiree healthcare


Selected Skills

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance and planning
  • Plan drafting and amending
  • Retirement plan mergers, acquisitions, and terminations (nongovernmental and governmental, including Florida Retirement System transfers)
  • Benefit planning (tailoring welfare benefits to the individual employer)
  • Benefit reductions
  • Plan terminations
  • Nondiscrimination
  • General retirement and welfare plan compliance
  • Welfare plan 5500 planning
  • Welfare plan audits
  • Structuring non-ERISA individual or voluntary welfare benefits
  • Compliance with requirements such as COBRA, HIPAA, FMLA, USERRA, ADA, ADEA, and PHSA
  • Retiree healthcare issues
  • Related employment tax issues

Featured Insights

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Professional & Community Involvement

  • The Florida Bar
    • Labor & Employment Law Section (Publications Subcommittee)
    • Governmental Section
    • Tax Section
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association
    • Labor & Employment Section
    • Tax Section
  • Tampa Bay Pension Council
  • Florida Municipal Attorneys Association (2011-Present)
  • Florida Public Pension Trustees Association (2004-Present)
  • National Association of Public Pension Administrators (2011-2012)
  • Hillsborough Education Foundation School Endowment Committee (2009-2012)
  • Florida West Coast Benefits Council
    • President (2007-2008)
  • Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Board (2004-2007)
    • Chairman (2007)
  • New Tax Professionals Association
    • Co-Chair (2006)
  • Leadership Tampa Bay (2005)
  • Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce (2002-2004)
  • Tampa Connection Alumni Association (2003-2004)
  • Tampa Connection (2002-2003)

Speaking Engagements

  • "How to Select an Investment Advisor When You Don't Know a Thing About Investing," Florida Public Human Resources Association (August 2018)
  • “Health Benefits Legal Update,” Tampa Bay Risk Management Society (May 2018)
  • "Retirement Plan Basics: An In-depth Look at Early Distribution Penalties," Florida Public Human Resources Association (September 2017)
  • “Retirement Plan Fiduciary Issues and Concerns,” HR Florida (August 2017)
  • "Retirement Plan Basics: An In-depth Look at Early Distribution Penalties," Florida Public Human Resources Association (July 2017)
  • “Early Distribution Penalties Under 72(t) for DB’s, DC’s & 457’s,” Florida Public Pension Trustees Association (September 2016)
  • “How to Defend Your ACA Decisions to the IRS," M.E. Wilson Seminar (May 2016)
  • "Defending Your ACA Decisions to the IRS," Wallace Welch & Willingham Webinar (April 2016)
  • "Retirement Plan Participant Notices," Wallace Welch & Willingham Webinar (February 2016)
  • "Hangers-on: Why Ineligible Individuals Continue to be Covered," HR Florida (September 2015)
  • "Employee Benefits Tax Tips & Oddities," Florida Public Human Resources Association (August 2015)
  • “Why Size Matters!” Society for Human Resource Management, 2014 Human Resource Conference & Exposition (October 7, 2014)
  • "Retirement Plans: Reducing Organizational Risk, Lowering Fees & Improving Returns.” HR Florida (October 2014)
  • “Why Is This Guy Still on My Health Plan,” Lorman Educational Services Webinar (March 27, 2014)
  • "New IRS Interpretation of DROP Plans," Florida Public Trustees Association (October 2013)
  • "Understanding The Employer Mandate," Florida Association of Wholesale Distributors Health Care Reform Summit (October 2013)
  • "FSAs, HRAs, & HSAs: An Explanation & Comparison,” HR Florida (August 2013)
  • "Defined Benefits to Defined Contributions: Terminations, Freezes, Conversions, & Reductions,” Florida Public Human Resources Association (July 2013)
  • "Do's and Don'ts of Wellness Incentives, Wallace, Welch & Willingham," Wellness Works Seminars (May 2013)
  • "New Rules for HIPAA and Business Associates - What BAs need to do under the law and what changes for Covered Entities," International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists - Tampa Bay Chapter (April 2013)
  • "Federal Tax Issues With DB Plans," Florida Public Pension Trustees Association (October 2012)
  • "Reduce the Agony of Compliance and Increase the Thrills With a Well-designed Retirement Plan (aka Cutting Edge Issues for Governmental Retirement Plans)," Florida Public Human Resources Association (August 2012)
  • "Using Benefits to Attract, Retain, and Increase Employee Productivity," HR Florida (August 2012) 
  • "The Effect of Actuarial Assumptions aka How the Pension Actuary Is Bankrupting Your City," Florida Government Finance Officers Association (May 2012) 

Credentials

Education
  • University of Miami School of Law (LL.M., Taxation, 2000)
  • Brooklyn Law School (J.D., 1996)
  • Rutgers College of Rutgers University (B.A., 1993)
Bar Admissions
  • Florida
Court Admissions
  • Florida State Courts

Background

  • GrayRobinson, P.A., Tampa, FL (2001-2017)

Disclaimer

The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.