What You Need To Know About Filing IRS Form 5500

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What You Need To Know About Filing IRS Form 5500

Tax forms can be intimidating. We have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about IRS Form 5500 to help you understand what is required and how to make sure you remain in compliance.

What is Form 5500?

IRS Form 5500 enables employee benefit plans to satisfy annual reporting requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). It is used to report information concerning the qualification of the plan. It also provides information about your plan’s financial condition, investments and operations.

Who must file Form 5500?

The employer maintaining the plan or the plan administrator of any pension and welfare benefit plan subject to ERISA must file a Form 5500. Such plans may include:

  • Medical, dental and life insurance plans
  • Profit sharing, 401(k) and stock purchase plans
  • Annuity and retirement arrangements
  • Pension plans

Small plans with fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the year may be eligible to file Form 5500-SF.

When must the Form 5500 be filed?

The Form 5500 and all required schedules must be filed electronically by the plan administrator on the last day of the seventh month following the close of the plan year. If your plan runs on a calendar year, your Form 5500 would be due no later than July 31.

The ERISA Filing Acceptance System (EFAST2) program enables you to file the form electronically. For more information on how the system works and what is required, visit the Department of Labor (DOL) site devoted to helping you file your forms in a timely and efficient manner.

What if I need more time?

You may file a request for an extension (IRS Form 5558). Each plan for which you are requesting an extension will require its own Form 5558. Be sure to avoid errors on these forms or your request will be considered late.

Visit the IRS website for tips on how to file Form 5558 correctly.

What if I receive a notice from the IRS?

If the IRS has questions about your Form 5500 or your request for an extension of time to file, you may receive one of these notices.

  • Delinquency Notice: If you failed to file Form 5500 for an active plan, you will receive this notice. You must respond within 30 days; extensions are not allowed. If you feel the notice was sent in error, you will need to provide a written statement of why you think it was mistakenly sent to you. If you do not provide a response, the IRS will consider the form not filed. You can learn more about these notices on the IRS website.
  • Notice related to Form 5558: If you receive this notice, your request for a filing extension has been denied and you must file your Form 5500 immediately. Your filing will be considered late if it is filed after the original due date.
  • Filing Requirements Notice: This notice doesn’t require a response. It is simply a reminder that because you previously filed a Form 5500-EZ or Form 5500-SF, you need to review the filing requirements to make sure you may continue to use these forms. If there have been changes to your plan, you may need to file a Form 5500. 

It’s important that you take these notices seriously and respond in a timely manner. IRS penalties for late filing are $25 per day up to $15,000. DOL penalties can run up to $2,400 per day (no maximum).

Where can I go for more information?

The IRS and the DOL both have extensive resources that can provide you with help.

  • Form 5500 Corner (IRS) links you to the forms and official guidance you may need as you complete the required information.
  • Form 5500 Series (DOL) gives you access to current tax forms and the electronic filing system for the forms.

You will also want to talk to your broker or benefits adviser. They can help you with the process of completing and filing your forms. They may also be able to refer you to an accountant or other tax professional who can answer any questions you may have.

This content is for informational purposes only, should not be considered professional, financial, medical or legal advice, and no representations or warranties are made regarding its accuracy, timeliness or currency. With all information, consult with appropriate licensed professionals to determine if implementing any recommendations would be in accordance with applicable laws and regulations or to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

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