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Proposal to Modernize and Improve Form 5500

From the Department of Labor’s website:

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) are seeking public comments on proposed revisions to modernize and improve the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report filed by private-sector employee benefit plans. EBSA also published a related notice of proposed changes to its annual reporting regulations under Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

The proposed revisions are intended to:

  • Modernize the financial statements and investment information filed about employee benefit plans,
  • Update the reporting requirements for service provider fee and expense information,
  • Enhance accessibility and usability of data filed on the form,
  • Require reporting by all group health plans covered by Title I of ERISA, and
  • Improve compliance under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code through new questions regarding plan operations, service provider relationships, and financial management of the plan.

“The proposed form changes and related regulatory amendments are important steps toward improving this critical enforcement, research and public disclosure tool,” said Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration Phyllis C. Borzi. “The 5500 is in serious need of updates to continue to keep pace with changing conditions in the employee benefit plan and financial market sectors. We must also remedy the form’s current gaps in collecting data from ERISA group health plans.”

Under the proposal, the form revisions would begin with the Plan Year 2019 Form 5500 series returns/reports. Publication of the notices in the Federal Register marks the start of a 75-day comment period. They are seeking written comments on or before October 4, 2016. The Form 5500 Notice of Proposed Forms Revisions and the Form 5500 Proposed Rule were published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2016. The full News Release is available via the DOL website.