Proposed Form 5500 Changes

On July 11, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) brought to light a long awaited promise – the Form 5500 is to be renovated and modernized, starting with the 2019 Form 5500. The mandated changes are significant. Most notably – all group health plans including those with less than 100 enrolled participants are to file a Form 5500.  The changes were necessary from the DOL’s perspective.  Currently the proposed changes are subject to a 75 day comment period, and further direction will be provided.


Form 5500 Background

The Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, is the form used to file an employee benefit plan’s annual information return with the Department of Labor (“DOL”). How often does the Form 5500 have to be filed? If a plan is subject to ERISA, this form must be filed every year.


Are there penalties for failure to file a return with the DOL?

The DOL and IRS may impose penalties or fines if the plan sponsor fails, or refuses, to file a complete return or if the form is rejected for insufficient information. Additional penalties may be incurred for willful violations, which include making false statements. Filings will be rejected by the DOL if required questions are left unanswered.