Filing the annual report
The form 5500 was jointly developed by the DOL, the IRS and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation so that pension plans could utilize the form 5500 series to comply with the annual reporting requirements of ERISA and the internal revenue code. Effective January 1, 2010, the Form 5500 including any schedules or attachments, must be filed electronically using EFAST2 approved third party software or using IFILE.
In its first filing year, the EFAST2 system received approximately one million Form 5500 filings. The most common problem areas were identified as follows:
- Missing or invalid signature of the plan administrator or plan sponsor;
- Failure to attach an accountant’s opinion
- Inclusion of an attachment that was not able to be processed
- Failure of a final plan filing to satisfy the termination criteria
- Indication that a plan’s filing was beyond the due date
The due date for filing the Form 5500 is seven months after the plan’s year end. For calendar year end plans, the filing deadline is July 31. A plan can obtain a one-time extension of 2½ months by filing the IRS form 5558 on or before the Form 5500 filing due date. The Form 5558 must be filed with the IRS. A copy of the extension must be filed with the Form 5500. Also, if the plan sponsor’s corporate tax return has been extended, then the plan will automatically receive an extension for filing the Form 5500 until the due date of the sponsor’s corporate tax return (a 1½ month extension). Again, a copy of the extension must be filed with the annual report.