HR Alert

DOL Releases Advance Copies of 2016 Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF

Forms Outline New Administrative Penalties

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and other federal agencies have released advance informational copies of the 2016 Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF and related instructions. These advance copies are for informational purposes only and cannot be used to file an annual return/report.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and related regulations impose annual reporting and filing obligations on pension and welfare benefit plans, including multiple-employer plans. These annual reporting obligations are generally satisfied by the filing of the Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF (including any required schedules and attachments) in accordance with instructions and related regulations.

2016 Advance Forms
Modifications to Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF, and the schedules and instructions for plan year 2016, are described under "Changes to Note" in the 2016 instructions. These modifications include:

  • New Administrative Penalties: The instructions reflect an increase in the maximum civil penalty amount assessable for a plan administrator who fails or refuses to file a complete or accurate Form 5500 report. Regulations published on July 1, 2016 increased the maximum penalty to ,063 a day (formerly ,100) for civil penalties assessed after August 1, 2016, whose associated violation(s) occurred after November 2, 2015.
  • IRS Compliance Questions: Although they appear on the 2016 Form 5500, Form 5500-SF, Schedules H, I, and R, the IRS has decided that filers should not enter the "Preparer's Information" at the bottom of the first page of Form 5500 for the 2016 plan year; and should not answer the IRS questions at Lines 4o and 6a through 6d of Schedules H and I and the "Part VII - IRS Compliance Questions" of the Schedule R. Similarly, filers who are using the Form 5500-SF to satisfy their annual reporting requirement should not complete the "Preparer's Information" at the bottom of the first page, "Part VIII-Trust Information," and "Part IX-IRS Compliance Questions" on the Form 5500-SF. Filers should skip these questions when completing the forms.
  • Schedules H and I: Line 5c is modified to add a new question. The existing Line 5c question asks, if a plan is a defined benefit plan, whether it is covered by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) insurance program. The new question asks filers that answered "Yes," to enter the My PAA-generated confirmation number for the PBGC premium filing for the plan year.
  • Schedule SB: The instructions for Cooperative and Small Employer Charity (CSEC) plans, reported in Line 27, Code 1, have been updated to reflect guidance on certain issues relating to the application of the Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act.

Informational copies of the forms, schedules, and instructions are available here. Plan administrators generally must file the appropriate Form 5500 on the last day of the seventh month after their plan year ends (July 31 for a calendar-year plan).

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