The Program offers year-end and mid-year nondiscrimination testing for 401(k) plans, top heavy testing for all plans, and contribution calculations.  Respond to our solicitation email in the first month of your plan year begins to request these services, offered at no additional cost.  The Program will reach out to you in the eighth month of the plan year to offer a mid-year nondiscrimination test if you sponsor a non-safe harbor 401(k) plan.

Form 5500 is an annual report that informs the government regarding demographic and financial information for the plan.  It is an important tool that allows regulators to monitor retirement plan trends.  The filing deadline is the last day of the seventh month following your plan year-end.  The Program will prepare and provide Form 5500 to be filed through our eFile website and email you the filing notifications when it is ready to be filed.

The Program will ensure that the master and prototype plan is in regulatory compliance, if you have adopted the prototype.  To ensure that your plan is in operational compliance, see the compliance checklist.

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.

The Form 5500 process

It is your responsibility as the Plan Administrator to 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 Updating Participant Data section for more information.

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.

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 the program calendar.

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 who are eligible to participate in the plan. 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.

Fidelity bond requirement

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 information about the electronic Form 5500 Reporting.