Form 5500 Changes

Another fiscal year, another Form 5500 to file! While the filing deadline is many months away, plan sponsors should take a few minutes to become familiar with the changes that have been made to the proposed Form 5500 for 2015, which will include some new compliance questions. The new questions will include:

  • the name of the trust and its federal identification number
  • the name of the trustee and the trustee’s phone number
  • whether the plan is a 401(k) plan and 401(k) nondiscrimination testing questions
  • additional coverage questions
  • whether the plan has been amended in a timely fashion to address all tax law changes
  • dates and other information related to the most recent plan amendment or restatement
  • whether the plan is maintained in a U.S. territory
  • if the plan had unrelated business taxable income and if so, the amount
  • whether in-service distributions were made during the plan year and if so, the amount

While the final form has not been released, all signs indicate that these new questions will remain after the comment period. This new form is expected to be effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2015, but will only apply to returns with a filing deadline (without extension) after December 31, 2015.

The changes to the 2015 form are no great surprise, as there have been changes to Form 5500 every year since it was introduced in 2010. The IRS, Department of Labor, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation jointly developed the Form 5500-series return for employee benefit plans to satisfy annual reporting requirements under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. Form 5500 is due on the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends. The information collected is used to help the IRS determine if all regulations are being followed and to provide the federal government with information to track retirement plan assets in the private sector.