The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) require most—but not all—employee benefit plans to file some version of the Form 5500 report each year.
- All Form 5500, Annual Returns/Reports of Employee Benefit Plan and Form 5500-SF, Short Form Annual Returns/Reports of Small Employee Benefit Plan, along with any required schedules and attachments, must be completed and filed electronically using EFAST2-approved third-party software or using IFILE.
- For information on completing and filing forms electronically through EFAST2 or using IFILE, see the EFAST2 FAQs and publications that are provided as a link on the DOL website at dol.gov/ebsa/.
- Form 5500-EZ filers may continue to file a paper copy by mail with the IRS or, when eligible, may file the Form 5500-SF electronically using EFAST2 or IFILE.
- You may call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) to order Form 5500-EZ and instructions or obtain them from the IRS website at irs.gov. Be sure to allow several weeks for mailing time.
- The Form 5500 return must be filed with the EBSA by the last day of the seventh month after the end of the plan year that began in 2016. For calendar year plans, this year's filing due date is July 31, 2017.
- A final annual return (on Form 5500, Form 5500-SF, or Form 5500-EZ, as applicable) must be filed for a plan's final plan year. Note that if the plan is terminated, the filing deadline is the last day of the seventh month after the later of the date the plan was terminated or the date the trust was liquidated. If all of a plan's assets are transferred to another plan, the filing deadline is the last day of the seventh month after the date of transfer.
The following guidelines are provided as a general overview of the Form 5500 series requirements. To determine which Form 5500 your plan is required to file, refer to the IRS and DOL Form 5500 series forms and instructions.
|Plan Type||Number of Plan Participants||Filing Required?||Form Version*|
|Profit Sharing or Money Purchase Pension Plans||Sole Proprietor (or sole proprietor and spouse)||Yes, if combined plan assets are greater than $250,000||5500-EZ or 5500-SF|
|Multiple Employees||Yes||5500 or 5500-SF|
|Individual 401(k)||N/A||Yes, if combined plan assets are greater than $250,000||5500-EZ or 5500-SF|
|ERISA 403(b)||Multiple Employees||Yes||5500 or 5500-SF|
- Form 5500-EZ is generally required for all one-participant plans, including plans with owners, business partners, and spouses. Eligible one-participant plans may file Form 5500-SF electronically in place of a paper Form 5500-EZ.
- Form 5500-SF generally may be used by small plans with less than 100 participants (including owners, business partners, and spouses) regardless of the amount of combined assets in all the employer's plans.
- Form 5500 is required for all large plans with multiple participants (other than owners, business partners, and spouses) regardless of the amount of combined assets in all the employer's plans.
These guidelines include information specific to Profit Sharing and Money Purchase Pension Plans, Individual 401(k) Plans, and 403(b) Custodial Accounts.
Sponsors of large retirement plans (generally 100 or more participants) should hire a certified public accountant for audit and Form 5500 series filing assistance.
Plan-level reports, for use in preparing the Form 5500 filings, are available on Plan Sponsor Web (PSW). To enroll in PSW—our free, Web-based service for retirement plan sponsors—please use the online enrollment tool at troweprice.com/plansponsorweb.
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