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Federal Agencies Issue Proposed Revisions to Form 5500 Return/Report

The DOL, PBGC, and IRS (the “Agencies”) recently issued a Notice of Proposed Revision (the “Notice”) to update the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report filed for employee pension and welfare benefit plans. The DOL simultaneously issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the revisions proposed in the Notice. These proposed revisions primarily relate to certain statutory amendments to ERISA and the Code enacted as part of the SECURE Act and include other changes intended to improve Form 5500 reporting. Specifically, the Notice describes the following proposed revisions to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report: 

  • Consolidation of the Form 5500 reporting requirement for defined contribution retirement plan groups by (i) adding a new type of direct filing entity called a “defined contribution group” reporting arrangement, and (ii) establishing a new reporting schedule for such arrangement;
  • Modifications to reflect pooled employer plans as a type of multiple employer pension plan (“MEP”) and implement certain SECURE Act changes to MEP reporting of participating employer information;
  • Standardization of schedules of investment assets required to be included in the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report to improve financial transparency and accountability;
  • Changes to the instructions for counting defined contribution plan participants to allow more plans to utilize the simplified Form 5500 reporting options;
  • Inclusion of additional questions intended to improve funding and financial reporting by PBGC-covered defined benefit pension plans; and
  • Addition of selected tax qualification compliance questions for tax-qualified retirement plans to improve tax oversight and compliance.

If these proposed revisions are adopted, they would generally be effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022. The Agencies have requested comments regarding the proposed revisions listed in the Notice.

The Notice is available here.

The proposed rule is available here.

A DOL Fact Sheet is available here. 

The lawyers of our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group are readily able to assist companies on a nationwide basis with implementing sophisticated benefit plans and providing answers to their most challenging compensation issues. Additionally, our lawyers are well aware of the daily employee benefits challenges facing companies of all sizes and are capable of helping in-house lawyers and human resources personnel with the day-to-day advice and guidance necessary to properly administer employee benefits plans.

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September 2021