December 11, 2013

Agencies Release 2013 Form 5500: Form M-1 Filers Now Required to File Form 5500

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL), and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) have consolidated certain returns and report forms in an effort to reduce the filing burden for plan administrators and employers.  These agencies have recently released informational copies of the 2013 Form 5500 annual return/report and related instructions. 

Of particular note, the 2013 Form 5500 includes a new section called, “Form M-1 Compliance Information” that requires certain information to be completed by plans subject to the Form M-1 filing requirement. As background, the Form M-1, “Report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) and Certain Entities Claiming Exception (ECEs)” is an annual report filed with the DOL that is used by plans to attest compliance with HIPAA and related federal laws, as well as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Earlier this year, the DOL issued final regulations relating to Form M-1 changes required by ACA (see CBIZ Health Reform Bulletin, Final Rules Relating to Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements and Form M-1, 3/8/13).  The ACA strengthens the regulation of MEWAs primarily by increasing reporting and disclosure requirements and creating a cross-reference between the Form M-1 required to be filed by MEWAs, and the Form 5500 required of plans subject to ERISA.  And now, the 2013 edition of the Form 5500 is modified accordingly. Thus, all welfare benefit plans required to file a Form M-1 are now required to file the Form 5500 regardless of the plan size or type of funding. The exemption from filing for small unfunded, fully insured, or combination unfunded/fully insured plans no longer applies to plans required to file the Form M-1.

According to the Form 5500 Instructions, affected plans must provide an attachment to the 5500 filing with “Form M-1 Compliance Information” clearly marked at the top.  The attachment must indicate whether the plan was subject to the Form M-1 filing requirement during the plan year; and if so, whether it has completed its Form M-1 filing.  In addition, the plan must include its receipt confirmation code relating to the 2013 Form M-1 filing.



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