Plan Sponsor Quick Tips: Understanding the Form 5500

Each Monday 401kBasics posts a new tip as a part of our series “Plan Sponsor Quick Tips”. This series is designed to assist plan sponsors in filling their fiduciary role and running their retirement plan efficiently. Your feedback or suggestions on future articles is welcome.

On an annual basis, employee benefit plans are generally required to file a Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee benefit plans, to report their financial conditions and operations of the plan. Plan sponsors must file the Form 55500 on the last day of the seventh month after their plan year ends. The type of Form 5500 you file depends on the demographic of your plan and the number of participants.

Types of Returns:

  • Form 5500-EZ – Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners & their Spouses) Retirement Plan. One participant plans that satisfy requirements of the Form 5500-SF may file that type of form electronically in place of a paper-only Form 5500-EZ.
  • Form 5500-SF – Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Benefit Plan. Plans with less than 100 participants may be eligible to use this form (exceptions may apply). Must be filed electronically through the DOL’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act Filing Acceptance System (EFAST2).
  • Form 5500 – Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan. Must be filed electronically through the DOL’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act Filing Acceptance System (EFAST2). Generally, this form is required for plans with over 100 participants (exceptions may apply).

The Form 5500 is an important research and compliance tool for plans and their participants as it is part of ERISA’s overall framework. Failure to file the form in a timely manner may result in civil penalties. For more information on the 5500 click on this link.

This site is for entertainment purposes only. 401kBasics and it’s authors are not financial advisors and no information found on this site should be construed as financial advice.

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