Who is Required to File a Form 5500?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) reporting and disclosure requirements, requires administrators and plan sponsors of pension and welfare plans to file an annual return, Form 5500, with the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) which contains information about a plan’s financial conditions, investments and operations.  ERISA Section 3(3) defines the term employee benefit plan (or plan) as an employee welfare benefit plan, an employee pension benefit plan, or a plan that is both an employee welfare benefit plan and an employee pension benefit plan.

Who is Required to File?

Every pension and group welfare benefit plan that is subject to ERISA is required to file a Form 5500, with the following exceptions:

  • A Welfare Benefit Plan that covered fewer than 100 participants as of the beginning of the plan year and is unfunded, fully insured, or a combination of insured and unfunded;
  • An Unfunded Excess Benefit Plan is a plan maintained by an employer solely for the purpose of providing benefits in excess of the limitation on contributions and benefits imposed by Code Section 415
  • A Tax-Sheltered Annuity Arrangement or Custodial Accounts
  • A Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE)
  • A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) or a salary reduction SEP (SARSEP)
  • A Church Plans not electing ERISA Coverage
  • Certain Pension Benefit Plans Maintained Outside the United States
  • Unfunded Pension Plans Benefiting a Select Group (Top-Hat Plans)
  • Unfunded Dues Financed Pension Benefit Plans Maintained by Unions
  • An Individual Retirement Account or Annuity (IRA) not Considered a Pension Plan
  • A Governmental Plan
  • A “One-Participant Plan”

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