Report Card: Filing the Form 5500 Annual Return

Data drives decisions.  Data reveals trends.  Data is the lifeblood of business and government.  And data provides the underpinning of one of an employer’s most important documents each year – the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefits Plan.

This annual report filed by employee benefit plan administrators is used by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to consolidate the main annual reporting requirements for employee benefit plans.  The Form 5500 series is intended to protect the rights and benefits of plan participants and beneficiaries by assuring that:

  • Employee benefit plans are operated and managed in accordance with certain prescribed standards
  • Employee benefit plan participants and beneficiaries are provided with or have access to sufficient plan information

In addition, the Form 5500 series is an important compliance, research and disclosure tool for the DOL. It is also a source of information and data for use by other federal agencies, Congress and the private sector in assessing employee benefit, tax and economic trends and policies.

Small welfare benefit plans that are unfunded or fully insured (or a combination of unfunded and insured) are exempt from the Form 5500 filing requirement. A small welfare benefit plan is one that has fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year.

A welfare benefit plan is unfunded if benefits are paid as needed directly from the general assets of the employer. Plans that use a trust or separately maintained fund to pay benefits are not considered unfunded. A plan is insured if benefits are paid through insurance policies. If premiums are paid by employees, the employer must forward the employee contributions no later than three months after receipt.

The Form 5500 series must be administered completely and carefully.  Contact the Benefits team at The Reschini Group to learn more and to set up a meeting.

Copyright 2020 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.