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Kirstin Poirier-Whitley


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  • University of California, Los Angeles (J.D. 1994; Order of the Coif; Moot Court Honors Program; B.A. 1991; Phi Beta Kappa)

Bar Admissions

  • California

Kirstin Poirier-Whitley has more than 20 years of experience counseling tax-exempt employers (including hospitals, universities, and local governments) and for-profit employers on tax and fiduciary issues related to the design and administration of employee benefits for employees, executives, and retirees. She provides day-to-day counseling, addresses the benefits-related liability and transition issues that arise in corporate transactions, and helps clients favorably settle compliance issues with government agencies.

Kirstin has extensive experience advising on the myriad regulatory requirements (e.g., Affordable Care Act, HIPAA privacy) impacting clients' health and welfare plans and the tax rules impacting related funding vehicles (e.g., 401(h) accounts, VEBAs). She regularly negotiates health plan service agreements with third-party administrators and network providers and counsels on developing areas such as telemedicine and the design of consumer driven health care plans. Kirstin has extensive experience advising plan sponsors and fiduciary committees on tax and fiduciary issues related to retirement plans (e.g., cash balance, pension, 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) plans), including advising on emerging issues such as the DOL's new fiduciary rule.

She also advises on executive deferred compensation plans for tax-exempt and for-profit employers (e.g.,457(f) and 409A issues) and on all manner of fringe benefits (e.g., educational assistance, employer-provided vehicles, wellness incentives). Additionally, she counsels clients on payroll tax matters, including FICA taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements. Kirstin recently guided a client to a favorable result in a payroll tax audit, impacting its compensation and benefit practices with regard to more than 100,000 employees. Furthermore, she has significant experience advising governmental clients on state law issues, including the vested rights doctrine.

Kirstin Poirier-Whitley PoirierWhitley