Employers with large, calendar year health plans subject to ERISA should be prepared for the Form 5500 filing deadline. Unless an extension is requested, ERISA-covered, calendar year health plans with 100 or more participants must file their Form 5500s by July 31, 2019.
Form 5500 is an informational return jointly developed by the IRS, Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for employee benefit plans to satisfy their annual reporting requirements under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. The Form 5500 provides information about a plan's financial condition, investments and operations. The Form 5500 requirement applies to pension plans, retirement plans and welfare benefit plans that are subject to ERISA.
Plans Subject to Reporting
- Pension Benefit Plans. All pension benefit plans covered by ERISA must file an annual Form 5500. The Form 5500 must be filed whether the plan is tax qualified, benefits no longer accrue, contributions were not made this year, or contributions are no longer made. Both defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans (401(k) plans) must file a Form 5500.
- Welfare Benefit Plans. Welfare benefit plans provide benefits such as medical, dental, life insurance, apprenticeship and training, scholarship funds, severance pay, disability, etc. A welfare benefit plan covered by ERISA is required to file a Form 5500, except a welfare benefit plan that covered fewer than 100 participants as of the beginning of the plan year and is unfunded, fully insured or a combination of insured and unfunded.
- An unfunded welfare benefit plan has its benefits paid as needed directly from the general assets of the employer.
- A fully insured welfare benefit plan has its benefits provided exclusively through insurance contracts or policies, the premiums of which are paid directly to the insurance carrier by the employer.
- A combination of unfunded/insured welfare benefit plan has its benefits provided partially as an unfunded plan and partially as a fully insured plan.
How the Form 5500 is Filed
The Form 5500 must be filed electronically through the IRS' EFAST2 system. EFAST2 is an all-electronic system for the submission, receipt and processing of the Form 5500.
Employers with ERISA-covered health plans with 100 or more participants should review their annual reporting requirements and file the Form 5500 by July 31, if required.