Compliance and Communications: Form 5500 Reporting
Form 5500 is the annual report for your retirement plan that must be filed with the Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA), a division of the Department of Labor (DOL). It is required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to ensure employee benefit plans are operated and managed correctly. The DOL requires that Form 5500 be filed electronically (this filing procedure is known as EFAST2). Exceptions to the electronic filing procedure are as follows:
- Form 5500EZ will be filed by mail with the IRS;
- Form 5558, Application for Extension of Time will be filed by mail with the IRS.
The Program offers a Web-based solution for filing your Form 5500 through EFAST2. It allows the Program to prepare and store Form 5500 for your access, review and direct filing with the DOL.
If you have not already done so, you may provide the Program with the email address of the individual at your firm who signs your Form 5500. If you later determine that another email address is more appropriate for Form 5500 filing purposes, you will have the opportunity to change it.
Step 1 – Provide the Program with Information
Ensure that your participant statuses are always up to date; notify the Program promptly if someone is eligible to join the plan, terminated from employment or rehired. See the Eligibility and Data Changes section for more information.
Step 2 – The Program’s Role
The Program will prepare the Form 5500 or Form 5500EZ (including the appropriate schedule attachments) for your review and e-filing with the DOL or, in the case of the 5500EZ, for signing and mailing to the IRS. The Summary Annual Report (SAR) will also be available to you via e-file for distribution to plan participants.
Steps 3 and 4 – Complete and e-File Form 5500 and distribute SAR or sign and mail Form 5500EZ
You must review the Form 5500 (including the attached schedules), make sure it is accurate, and e-file it with the Department of Labor (DOL) or sign and mail Form 5500EZ to the IRS by the filing due date. You must also distribute the SAR to all plan participants (including terminated participants and beneficiaries who maintain a balance in the plan). For information on the Form 5500 e-filing date and the SAR distribution date, see “Dates to Remember” in the “Calendar” under Forms, Tools and Resources.
Additional Information Regarding Form 5500
Please note the following exceptions to the electronic filing requirement of Form 5500:
- Form 5500EZ will continue to be filed by paper with the Internal Revenue Service rather than the Department of Labor.
- Form 5558, Application for Extension of Time, will continue to be filed by paper with the Internal Revenue Service rather than the Department of Labor.
Am I Required to File Form 5500?
In most cases, yes. However, if your total plan assets are $250,000 or less at the beginning of the year, then three specific exceptions are:
- owner-only plans,
- owner/spouse-only plans, or,
- in the case of multiple owners, plans that cover only the owners or the owners and their spouses.
These exceptions only hold true, however, if the owners and/or the owners and spouses are the only employees of the firm that are eligible to participate in the plan. But if even one non-owner who is not a spouse has an account in the plan at any time during the plan year, that will require you to file the Form 5500.
Employers who are required to file Form 5500 electronically must also secure a fidelity bond for their plan. The bond is generally a rider on your firm’s insurance policy so you should contact your insurance provider each year to ensure you have the correct bond amount for your plan. The bond must be for at least 10% of the plan’s assets, not to exceed $500,000. The minimum bond amount is $1,000.
Learn More About Form 5500 Reporting
For more information about the electronic Form 5500 Reporting, click here.