There are numerous tax filing requirements for businesses, and those requirements continue to grow as new rules and regulations evolve, such as those under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, one less publicized requirement is the potential requirement to annually file Form 5500. The form details financial conditions, investments and operations of benefit plans, as required by ERISA and the IRS. The fact is, if you have more than 100 employees who participate in your health and welfare, or “fringe,” benefit plans, you are required to file annually. But please note: the Form 5500 filing requirement is completely separate from the requirements of the ACA. So, even if you do not meet the threshold for ACA reporting, you may still have to file a Form 5500.
Plan sponsors generally must file their Form 5500 return on the last day of the seventh month after their plan year ends, which is July 31 for plan years ending December 31. It is important to note that although there generally is a third-party administrator (TPA) who files Form 5500 for a company’s retirement plans, there generally is not a TPA involved with welfare benefit plans. So,unless you are filing Form 5500 on your own behalf or have communicated with your accountants, it is likely the form is not being filed.
To meet the filing deadline, now is the time to contact your accounting team with the key information below.
If you have filed Form 5500 for 2012 or prior years
- Talk with your advisors to discuss which benefits you offer through which insurance carriers, how many people participate in that benefit and if there have been any changes from prior years.
- Soon you should be receiving information from your insurance company in the form of a Schedule A for each benefit offered. Forward copies of any Schedule As well as a copy of your wrap document, if you have one, to your service team as soon as possible.
If you have not filed Form 5500 for 2012 or prior years
- Do you offer health and welfare (fringe) benefits to your employees? If so, do you have more than 100 employees who participate? If the answers to both of these questions are “yes,” contact your service team and provide them with the information in the section above. Also inquire as to whether you may qualify for any voluntary compliance programs to minimize penalties from failing to file in previous years.
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