Summertime is here and for those of us with calendar year benefit plans, we know that means the 5500 filing deadline is also right around the corner. Most plan sponsors are well aware of the 5500 filing requirement for pension/retirement plans – but lately it seems I’ve been meeting too many employers that were either not aware of the filing requirement for health and welfare benefit plans or simply assumed that someone else was handling it for them (e.g. accountant, broker, carrier, you name it).
Information required for the health and welfare plan filings is much less complex than pension plan filings (hooray!), but the penalties for noncompliance can be just as steep, so don’t let this get away from you.
Let me break down the most important points:
- Does this apply to your plan? If you don’t already know, the Form 5500 is required for employee benefit plans that started the plan year with 100 or more enrolled employees.
- When is it due? The due date for filing is the end of the month following 7 months after the plan year ends. So for a calendar plan year that means filing is due July 31st of the following year.
- What if you’re already late? If you aren’t on a calendar year plan and not already in compliance, the Department of Labor (DOL) does provide a Delinquent Filer’s Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP) which offers reduced penalties for voluntary compliance – but you need to make sure you get to the DOL before they get to you. Once the DOL knocks on your door, filing under the voluntary program is no longer an option.
Our firm prepares signature-ready 5500 filings for most of our clients, but that’s no guarantee that your broker is providing this service as well. If your broker is not, you’ll need to do some leg work to get your plans into compliance. We have helped many clients tackle this issue.