The Form 5500 is an important necessity in ERISA compliance.
With the rampant cases of the misappropriation of employees’ retirement benefits, ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) Form 5500 is what you should be thinking of in 2016 so as to safeguard your retirement. The Form 5500 is in a series that was jointly developed by three U.S. government agencies; Department of Labor (DOL), Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The main aim of Form 5500 is to collect information about employees’ benefits plans and most importantly, safeguard their retirement benefits.
Who is to File Form 5500?
The ERISA Form 5500 is to be filled by the main sponsor/contributor of any plan(s) that is subject to ERISA. Such plans may include; medical, life and severance insurance plans, money purchase, 401(k), profit sharing, annuity plans, retirement arrangements and pension plans.
For plans that have only 100 or less members, only Form 5500-SF (short form) is filed. Also, plans maintained outside the United States, only form 5500-EZ is to be filed for such members. The completed Form 5500 must be submitted together with the necessary schedules and attachments. You can get the Form 5500 on the U.S. Department of Labor Form 5500 Series Website.
Where and how is Form 5500 Filed?
All forms are filed electronically using the U.S. Department of Labor’s EFAST system. This is exclusively online.
What Information is Necessary to Complete Form 5500?
Form 5500 was developed as a database where the government can access all information regarding employees’ benefits plans. Some of the fields that are to be filled on the form include; Financial – Assets and liabilities, Insurance – Insurance plans, Service provider – employees’ service providers, Retirement plan – pension benefit plans, Financial transactions – loans, fixed income obligations, leases in default, or uncollectible/nonexempt transactions, etc.
When is the ERISA Form 5500 Filed?
Just like most filings, ERISA Form 5500 deadline is real. This form needs to be filed annually and before the 31st of July, or the next working day if it isn’t. However, there is room for extension if you don’t beat the stipulated deadline. With extensions however, you will have to file Form 5558. If you submit an incomplete Form 5558 before the current deadline, you also get a 2.5 months extension.
Why File ERISA Form 5500?
By now, you should be asking, why file the ERISA Form 5500? This form is convenient to both the employer and employee. To ensure your benefits are fully honored by your employers and your retirement and pension funds are safeguarded, you need to make sure you are on this platform. Employers must make sure that all their employees are registered on the Form 5500. This makes the work of the human resources easier as well as safeguard and ensure accountability of the worker’s benefits.
Since its inception, the ERISA Form 5500 has proved to be a great resource in making sure that employees’ benefits are safeguarded. Gone are the days when employees suffered in the hands of errant employers and insurance firms or their funds misappropriated by retirement benefits agencies. The for also serves to satisfy the annual report requirements of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.). With ERISA Form 5500, everything is on record, so you don’t need to worry. It is surely a convenient way through which employers and employees demonstrate accountability!
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