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 Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF, plus any required schedules and attachments.
Form 5500 must generally be filed by the last day of the seventh month following the end of the plan year, unless an extension applies. Therefore, employers with employee benefit plans that operate on a calendar year basis must file Form 5500 (or Form 5500-SF) for 2020 no later than July 31, 2021. Employers may request an extension of 2½ months by filing Form 5558 by the original due date of their Form 5500 (i.e. July 31 for calendar year plans).
A Form 5500 must be filed for each ERISA plan maintained by the plan sponsor. If ERISA welfare benefits are combined into a single plan, the plan administrator would generally only be required to file one Form 5500 each year for the plan’s benefits.
The Form 5500 series was developed 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 Department of Labor (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. The reporting obligations under the Form 5500 or 5500-SF will vary based on the type and size of benefit plan involved. Employers should work with their service providers to complete Forms 5500 correctly and on time.
The above information does not constitute advice. Always contact your employee benefits broker or trusted adviser for insurance-related questions.