November 4, 2016
On November 1, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) [collectively “ERISA Agencies”] released an advance copy of the 2016 Form 5500 Annual Report. Generally, plan administrators of pension, health and other welfare benefit plans must file a Form 5500 for their plans on an annual basis. The 2016 Form 5500 is used for plan years beginning in 2016. The advance release is solely for informational purposes and cannot be used for filing purposes. Most administrators must file the Form 5500 through EFAST, DOL’s electronic filing system. The DOL will separately announce when that system is open for 2016 Form 5500 filings.
The 2016 Form 5500 is very similar to the 2015 Form 5500. As was the case for the 2015 Form, the 2016 Form 5500 contains a number of new questions added by the IRS, and the IRS has once again decided that administrators should not answer those questions. The questions include the “Preparer’s Information” at the bottom of the first page of Form 5500, Line 4o and Lines 6a-d of Schedules H and I, and Part VII (“IRS Compliance Questions”) of the Schedule R.
Separately, the ERISA Agencies have issued a proposal to modernize the Form 5500 (draft forms and a proposed regulation). Those changes will not be effective before the 2019 Form 5500.