Form 5500 Filing Failures

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By Anna Noble, QKA

How do I fix a failure to timely file Form 5500 for my retirement plan?

The deadline to file Form 5500 series is the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends (July 31 for calendar-year plan). There are several options available if the deadline is not met.

  • File Form 5558, Application for Extension of Time To File Certain Employee Plan Returns. However, this application needs to be submitted on or before the normal due date.

  • Some filers are automatically granted extensions of time to file until the extended due date of the federal income tax return of the employer. This is the case if the employer’s tax year and the plan year are aligned, and the employer has been granted an extension of time beyond the normal deadline to file the business’s tax return.

  • Attach a letter to the Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, to be submitted to the Department of Labor (DOL) arguing reasonable cause for late filing (such as being located in a declared federal disaster area or combat zone).

  • File a delinquent Form 5500 under the DOL’s Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP) or the IRS Penalty Relief Program under Revenue Procedure 2015-32.

Is everyone eligible for DFVCP?

As long as the employer has not been notified by the DOL of the failure to file timely, they are eligible to participate in the program. DFVCP is only available if the Form 5500 is required to be filed under Title I of ERISA. Plans covering only self-employed individuals—sole owners (and their spouses) or partners (and their spouses)—are not subject to Title 1 of ERISA, and therefore, are not eligible to participate in DFVCP. One-participant plans covering the owner or partner and their spouses (non-ERISA plans) are eligible for the IRS program under Revenue Procedure 2015-32.