Form 5500 Filing Dates

Benefit plans must annually file Form 5500 with the IRS by July 31 but they can extend that deadline.  The forms present the inflows and outflows from the plan as well as the fees paid and to whom.  The form presents a balance sheet for the benefit plan as shows who received benefit payments.

There has been some confusion this year as the Congress extended the deadline for filing in the short-term highway funding bill to November 15, BUT in the final highway funding bill this change was reversed and the extension deadline now remains October 15.

It can take a while to assemble all of the necessary information to complete the Form 5500, as you need to know every investment’s return and the address of the fund.  You also need accurate information concerning all advisors who are paid through the plan.

If you benefit plan has over 100 participants it must be plan audited.  The timing must accommodate the time it will take for your auditor to test balances, transactions, participant elections and procedures.

I strongly recommend that sponsors of benefit plan get professional assistance in the completion of the Form 5500 and that they require the preparer to walk them through the meaning of each question.  There are a number of seemingly simple questions, which answered incorrectly will trigger a review by either the IRS or the Department of Labor.  This review is also a great time to review practices in administering the plan and consider improvements.

photo credit: paper via photopin (license)

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