Each year, employee benefit plan administrators are generally required to file a return/report regarding the plan’s financial condition, investments and operations. The annual reporting obligation is generally satisfied by filing the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan or Form 5500-SF Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan, plus any required schedules and attachments. The Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) jointly developed the Form 5500 series to consolidate the main annual reporting requirements for employee benefit plans.
The Form 5500 series is intended to protect the rights and benefits of plan participants and beneficiaries by assuring that:
- Employee benefit plans are operated and managed in accordance with certain prescribed standards
- Employee benefit plan participants and beneficiaries are provided with or have access to sufficient plan information
In addition, the Form 5500 series is an important compliance, research and disclosure tool for the DOL. It is also a source of information and data for use by other federal agencies, Congress and the private sector in assessing employee benefit, tax and economic trends and policies.
An employee benefit plan’s Form 5500 or 5500-SF must accurately reflect the plan’s characteristics and operations for the reporting period. An employee benefit plan administrator’s reporting obligations under the Form 5500 or 5500-SF will vary based on the type and size of benefit plan involved. For example, the administrator of an insured health plan will typically have significantly fewer reporting obligations than the administrator of a large pension plan.
- DOL webpage on the Form 5500 Series, including links to informational copies of current and prior Forms 5500 and 5500-SF, schedules, instructions and links to general reporting and compliance assistance: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/employers-and-advisers/plan-administration-and-compliance/reporting-and-filing/form-5500.
- DOL webpage dedicated to EFAST2 electronic filing information, including links to FAQs about EFAST2 and EFAST2 User Guides: www.efast.dol.gov/welcome.html
- DOL Fact Sheet and FAQs about the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program: https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/faqs/dfvcp.pdf
- DOL’s Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF Filing Tips: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/employers-and-advisers/plan-administration-and-compliance/reporting-and-filing/forms/efast2-form-5500-filing-tips
- IRS Form 5500 Corner: http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Form-5500-Corner
This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2009, 2011-2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.