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February 17, 2009

Form 5500 (5500 Annual Return/Report)



Form used to report information concerning employee benefit plans and Direct Filing Entities (DFEs). Any administrator or sponsor of an employee benefit plan that is subject to ERISA must file information about each plan every year .

A plan that provides deferred compensation solely for (1) an individual or an individual and his or her spouse who wholly own a trade or business, whether incorporated or unincorporated; or (2) partners or the partners and the partners’ spouses in a partnership may generally file Form 5500-EZ-rather than a Form 5500.

A plan that is eligible to File Form 5500-EZ, need not file if the plan (and any other ERISA plans of the employer) had total assets of $100,000 or less at the end of every plan year. The $100,000 threshold was increased to $250,000 under Section 1103 of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, effective for Plan Years Beginning on or After January 1, 2007

Plans and GIAs must file all required forms, schedules, statements, and attachments by the last day of the 7th calendar month after the end of the plan or group insurance arrangement (GIA )year -not to exceed 12 months in length. If the plan or GIA year differs from the calendar year, the preparer must fill in the fiscal year beginning and ending dates on the line provided at the top of the form.

DFEs other than GIAs must file return/reports no later than 9½ months after the end of the DFE year .A Form 5500 filed for a DFE must report information for the DFE year (not to exceed 12 months in length). If the DFE year differs from the calendar year, the preparer must fill in the fiscal year beginning and ending dates on the line provided at the top of the form.

Short Years.   For a plan year of less than 12 months (short plan year), the form and applicable schedules must be filed by the last day of the 7th month after the short plan year ends. The preparer must fill in the short plan year beginning and ending dates on the line provided at the top of the form and check box B(4) in Part I. For this purpose, the short plan year ends on the date of the change in accounting period or upon the complete distribution of assets of the plan.

Referring Cite

IRS Instructions for filing Form 5500 ; Form 5500 ,  The DOL’s  Annual Return/Report 5500 Series Forms and Instructions

Additional Helpful Information

  • A plan or GIA may obtain a one-time extension of time to file Form 5500 (up to 2½ months) by filing Form 5558, Application for Extension of Time To File Certain Employee Plan Returns, on or before the normal due date (not including any extensions) of the return/report. Form 5558 must be filed with the IRS.
  • Approved copies of the Form 5558 will not be returned to the filer. However, a photocopy of the completed extension request that was filed must be attached to the Form 5500 when it is being filed
  • Form 5558 should be filed with the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Ogden, UT 84201-0027.
  • Penalties may be applied for failure to file Form 5500 Returns
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL), and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) have consolidated certain returns and report forms to reduce the filing burden for plan administrators and employers. Employers and administrators who comply with the instructions for the Form 5500 and schedules will generally satisfy the annual reporting requirements for the IRS and DOL.
  • Some plans participate in certain trusts, accounts, and other investment arrangements that file a Form 5500 as DFEs.
  • Plans covered by the PBGC have special additional requirements, including filing Annual Premium Payment (PBGC Form 1 Packages) and reporting certain transactions directly with that agency. See PBGC’s Premium Package (Form 1 Packages).

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