Now more than ever your company needs form 5500 preparation services. In 2016 and beyond the penalties are just to great to ignore.
If your business has more than 100 employees who participate in a welfare benefit plan as defined by ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security) Act of 1974, then you should be thinking about form 5500 preparation. All employers with more than 100 participants in a welfare benefit plan defined by ERISA are required to fill form 5500 annually and these forms are usually due 7 months after the end of the year of that plan. ERISA will offer a 2 month extension but employers who consider this extension must fill form 5588. It is important to note that failure to fill this form may attract various kinds of penalties and giving insufficient or incorrect data is also punishable.
Form 5500 preparation services
There are many businesses that provide form 5500 preparation services and finding them should not be a daunting task. However, not all will depict desirable characteristics. Some will simply extort more money from you and exaggerate the requirement and fees. It is therefore important to keenly review the business before you hire their services. Not all businesses are required to fill form 5500 although the list of exempted organizations is quite short. Only government and church organizations and those businesses that have less than 100 participants in their plan are exempt from filling this form. After 2010, filing this form online was made possible. Form 5500 preparation is very important if you want to avoid penalties or paying excess fees for services you can complete on your own.
Not all employee benefit plans are subject to ERISA and filing form 5500. It is important to note if your plan is part of the eligible list. Some of the popular plans that are required to fill this form (provided they are non-governmental, non-church, and with over 100 participants) include; accidental death and dismemberment, pharmacy, health insurance, group term life, MSA, vision, health FSA, dental plan, cancer insurance, sick pay plans, emergency daycare center, disability benefit, prescription drug benefit advantages and Medicare premium subsidy among others. It is often advisable to engage professional help during your form 5500 preparation to determine if you are a candidate for this form.
Form 5500 preparation fee
As aforementioned, finding professionals to help you prepare your form 5500 is a very simple process. However, you may land unreliable businesses that will extort more money from you. There are various defined fees needed for form 5500 preparation. These include the following;
• $500.00 for welfare benefit plan. This amount is paid per plan number
• $100.00 for the summary annual report including schedule A or schedule C
• $100.00 for any/each addition schedule within the plan
• $100.00 for the preparation of form 5558 if you consider the 2 month extension
Your business may need or have additional fees based upon circumstance and/or need.
Finding reliable services
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While many businesses that can help you fill your form 5500 exist in the market, not all of them promise reliable service. It is therefore important to compare the offers before spending your money. Fortunately, reliable businesses have hallmarking attributes that you can always use to distinguish them from the rest in the market. Some of the things to evaluate in professionals offering form 5500 preparation services include the following:
• Reputation – professionals that offer consistent satisfactory quality will have a thriving reputation within the area. Go through the comments, opinions, testimonials and reviews of previous clients to learn from their experiences.
• Business longevity – it is often advisable to choose businesses that have been providing such services for a longer time in the area. They probably have streamlined service delivery plans and are better suited to meet your needs.
• Quality guarantees – only choose professionals running a credible licensed business. They should offer quality guarantees and you only need to pay them once everything is concluded.
• Competitive affordability – it is advisable not settle for one company; rather, look for a couple of professional options and compare their prices to gain affordability.
There are many other minor aspects to review when looking for businesses and/or professionals that offer form 5500 filling services including flexibility, exceptional customer services and trustworthiness among others. Generally, you should choose qualified experienced and licensed professionals so that you get the best services which are certified and credible.
Form 5500 preparation and filing is mandatory for all business that has 100 or more employees registered to any of the above employee benefit plans unless you run one of the exempt organizations. Otherwise, you need form preparation and filing service in due time to avoid penalties and fines.
ALERT: Don’t get scammed.