August 8, 2016

Changes Afoot for Form 5500 Filings (article)

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) published two sets of proposed regulations (Annual Reporting and Disclosure and Proposed Revision of Annual Information Return/Reports), together with a Fact Sheet, on July 21, 2016.  Of particular note, these proposals intend to make numerous overall changes to the Form 5500 for purposes of collecting data that will be used by EBSA to provide ongoing monitoring of plans to ensure compliance.


As background, retirement and welfare benefit plans subject to ERISA are required to file a Form 5500, together with appropriate Schedules, on an annual basis. Plans not subject to ERISA such as church plans not electing ERISA coverage or government plans, are exempt from the Form 5500 filing requirement. 


On the welfare benefit plan side, the types of plans required to file a 5500 include medical, dental, vision, prescription drug, life insurance, disability, flexible medical spending accounts and employee assistance programs.  Welfare benefit plans excepted from the 5500 filing include plans with fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year that are funded by an insurance contract, or the claims of which are paid from the general assets of the employer, or a combination of both.


The proposed forms revisions and implementing regulations would expand Form 5500 reporting requirement by eliminating the small plan exception, as mentioned above.  These plans would be required to answer certain portions of the 5500, together with completion of the Schedule J, Group Health Plan Information. This new Schedule J will be used to report information about group health plan operations and ERISA compliance, plus compliance with certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act.


In addition, these regulations would require more extensive disclosure of fees and expenses in keeping with previously issued EBSA regulations.


Written comments on these rules must be received by EBSA by October 4, 2016.  While these Form 5500 changes are not slated to take effect until the 2019 filing year, which for a calendar year plan would be due in July, 2020, some of the proposed changes may take effect earlier.

The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.  

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