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Your Guide to Form 5500

Published by Kim Moore on Mar 12, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Form 5500 is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) informational return that provides data to both the IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) regarding each retirement plan. As a 401k Plan Sponsor, you are required to file Form 5500 for the plan each year.

If you have specific questions regarding the filing requirement for your Plan it’s best to check with your service provider, they will have the information relating to your Plan. Below are key items you need to understand about the Form 5500 filing.

  • Required data–Required information is based upon the type of plan, activity that occurred, and the number of scribbles_pencil_computer_20192 (2)participants. A Plan having more than 100 eligible participants, will include those that participate in the Plan as well as those employees eligible to participate, but have choose not to. You will be required to file a Long Form 5500 which requires more information and may potentially require an audit. Those with less participants can file a Short Form.

    You should verify the type of Form required for your situation, with your service provider. In most cases, the service provider prepares the actual form based upon information they have about the Plan. However, they will provide a questionnaire to you for gathering any additional required information. Make sure you complete all the requested information requests timely. If you are unsure of a question that is being asked, verify with your provider before making assumptions.

  • Timing – If your Plan is a calendar year Plan, the due date for filing the Form is July 31st of each year. You can receive an automatic extension until October 15th for the Plan but you must file a form with the IRS before the end of July due date to qualify for the extension. It’s very important to follow the guidelines regarding filing on time. Penalties apply for non-compliance and are assessed daily from the original due date of the form. If your Plan is on a fiscal year basis, the form is due seven months after the year-end date for your Plan. The extended date is 10 ½ months from the year-end date.

  • Filing – Once the form has been completed, reviewed and approved, it must be filed on the DOL E-Fast System. Paper submissions are no longer accepted. Make sure you have fully reviewed the form before submitting it. If there are any items you are not sure about, now is the time ask questions. Once the form is accepted by the system it will become public information. Work with your service provider to complete the filing using their procedures. They should be available for questions as you work through the filing steps. Once you have submitted the form, check back in a few days to make sure the filing was accepted without any errors.

The best resource to assist in completing the Form 5500 filing is your representative at the service provider for your Plan. If you need specific Form 5500 instructions, you can click on this dol.gov link to get Form 5500 instructions from the IRS.

Retirement plans can be very complex. As an innovative firm Summit CPA specializes in 401(k) audits. We have the ability to offer assistance entirely off-site with little or no distraction to your daily office routine.  We also offer flat-fee pricing so there are no surprises on your bill when the job is complete. For assistance contact our office at (866) 497-9761 to schedule an appointment.

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