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When the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plans an event in Washington, DC, and invites people from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), then asks them to create a form to collect information about employee benefit plans, including health and pension plans; you might want to stand back. There’s a chance no one wants to touch that form with a 10-foot pole.

Form 5500 must be completed by the administrator of any plan subject to ERISA including:

  • Medical, dental, life insurance, or severance pay plans
  • Profit sharing, 401(k), money purchases, or stock bonus plans
  • Annuity arrangements
  • Retirement arrangements
  • Pension plans
What is Form 5500?

The Form 5500 Annual Return/Report is the primary source of information about the operation, funding, assets, and investments of pension and other employee benefit plans. In addition to disclosing important information to plan participants and beneficiaries, the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report is an essential compliance and research tool for the DOL, IRS, and PBGC. Other federal agencies, Congress, and the private sector also rely on the Form 5500 as an important source of information for assessing employee benefit, tax, and economic trends and policies.

Clients of TAG Resources don’t have to worry.

Throughout the year, TAG Resources collects, monitors, and organizes data to use in the yearly filing of Form 5500 with the Internal Revenue Service. For plans that have a year-end date of December, the deadline for filing the 5500 is July 31st. Like any other filing with the government, additional schedules and attachments must be filled at the same time.  As the 3(16) administrator, TAG is responsible for managing the day-to-day operation of the plan. TAG, also, gathers information from plan sponsors to satisfy the requirements needed to file the 5500.  It is highly likely you’ve been asked recently to provide information on insurance, service providers, participating plans, financial transactions and additional financial services, retirement plans, and statements identifying separated participants and reportable events. All of this information is needed to satisfy the requirements of the 5500 and prevent your plan from being audited.

Prior to filing the 5500, plan administrators are also required to engage an independent qualified public accountant to conduct an audit of the plan’s financial statements and to render an opinion on the financial statements; and attach the related audit report to the plan’s Form 5500. The annual report consists of the audit opinion, financial statements, notes to the financial statements and supplemental schedules. Then, Form 5500 is distributed to plan participants and beneficiaries as part of a summary annual report (SAR).

At TAG Resources, the audit and compliance departments, armed with information from Plan Sponsors and recordkeepers, follow the guidance of TAG’s ERISA attorney, Robert Toth, and complete Form 5500 online for all plan sponsors.

July might be one of the most data intensive times as TAG has a spotless record to maintain. None of TAG’s plans have failed an audit. The information provided is invaluable for research by the federal government.

According to a recent DOL bulletin, in the United States, private sector employers provide for an estimated 2.3 million health plans, a similar number of other welfare plans, and nearly 681,000 defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans.

These plans cover roughly 143 million private sector workers, retirees, and dependents, and have estimated assets of $8.7 trillion.

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