what is erisa form 5500

Form 5500 Series

The Form 5500 Series is important compliance, research, and disclosure tool for the Department of Labor, a disclosure document for plan participants and beneficiaries, and 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.

The DOL may assess a civil penalty against a plan administrator of up to $2,400 per day starting from the date of the administrator’s failure or refusal to file Form 5500. The penalty is also for incomplete or otherwise deficient Form 5500s. The penalty may be reduced under the DOL delinquent and late-filer programs, subject to annual increases for inflation. A willful failure to distribute a SAR or failure to complete 5500 reporting is subject to criminal penalties, punishable by a fine of not more than $100,000 or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both. Fines can be increased up to $500,000 if assessed against an entity (and not the responsible individual). A participant requesting a SAR, who does not receive the SAR within 30 days of that request, can be awarded up to $2400/day (until the SAR is provided).

The Form 5500 Series is part of ERISA’s overall reporting and disclosure framework, which is intended to assure that employee benefit plans are operated and managed in accordance with certain prescribed standards and that participants and beneficiaries, as well as regulators, are provided or have access to sufficient information to protect the rights and benefits of participants and beneficiaries under employee benefit plans. 

Only 2019 and 2020 Forms will be accepted by EFAST2: Effective January 1, 2021, the EFAST2 System will only accept 2019 and 2020 forms. Therefore, if an earlier plan year filing needs to be submitted (for an amended filing or a first-time late filing) the prior to 2019 form needs to be prepared on the most current available form, which right now is a 2020 Form 5500.

Form 5500 Services

Let Us Do the Work for You!

By hiring B3PA as your Form 5500 preparation vendor, you will receive the correct guidance and suggested actions by seasoned industry experts.

  • You have an assigned contact you work with directly.
  • We help gather all needed information
  • Complete the 5500 forms on your behalf
  • Coordinate with the employer directly
  • Submit completed 5500 via EFAST
  • Complete SAR, if needed.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), along with the IRS and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), released advance copies of the the2021 Form 5500 and related instructions. For smaller filers, advance copies of the 2021 Form 5500-SF (short form) and related instructions also were made available, along with supplemental materials that include schedules and attachments.

Form 5500 FAQ

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