Employee Benefit Plans: The 411

Valuable Information on 401ks, Pensions, ESOPs, Form 5500 Preparation + More

EFAST2 Form 5500/5500-SF Filing Search

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and provisions of the Internal Revenue Code require certain employee benefit plans to submit information on their size, funding, operations, and other characteristics on an annual basis.  For the plan years 2009 to date all of these filings are stored electronically and can viewed through the EFAST2 Form 5500/5500-SF Filing Search by the general public which can be accessed at the below website:
 
http://www.efast.dol.gov/portal/app/disseminate?execution=e1s1 :

The EFAST2 Form 5500/5500-SF Filing Search application is web-based and requires no software installation on your computer. It does require an active internet connection that supports Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption and an internet browser such as Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. The filing is displayed in a Portable Document Format (PDF), which does require a PDF viewer application.

There are several different criteria to use for the search; several options include Plan Name, Sponsor Name, Plan Administrator and EIN (with at least one or more of the fields needing to be completed). Wildcard searches can be used in the Plan Name, Sponsor Name and Plan Administrator fields but there is a four character minimum requirement (for example the search for “Goog” in the Sponsor Name field will bring up “Google” results).

The website has a helpful search guide with more in depth details and if you are unable to find a filing you can also contact the EFAST2 Help Line at 866-463-3278.

Prepared by: Kim Lubbers, CPA

Comments

  1. Prairie County Government - Sharon Brown, Deputy County Clerk says:

    We employ approximately 60 people and understand there have been some changes in the system. Is it necessary that we file a Form 5500 since we only employ a small amount of people??? Thank you for your prompt reply.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your question and interest in our blog. The majority of all plans covered be ERISA are required to file a Form 5500 regardless of the number of employees. Participant/employee count is used to determine if an audit of the Plan is required. Below is a list of the only type of plans not required to file a Form 5500.

      Do Not File a Form 5500 for a Pension Benefit Plan That Is Any of the Following:
      1. An unfunded excess benefit plan. See ERISA section 4(b)(5).
      2. An annuity or custodial account arrangement under Code sections 403(b)(1) or (7) not established or maintained by an employer as described in DOL Regulation 29 CFR 2510.3-2(f).
      3. A Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE) that involves SIMPLE IRAs under Code section 408(p).
      4. A simplified employee pension (SEP) or a salary reduction SEP described in Code section 408(k) that conforms to the alternative method of compliance in 29 CFR 2520.104-48 or 2520.104-49. A SEP is a pension plan that meets certain minimum qualifications regarding eligibility and employer contributions.
      5. A church pension benefit plan not electing coverage under Code section 410(d).
      6. A pension plan that is maintained outside the United States primarily for the benefit of persons substantially all of whom are nonresident aliens. However, certain foreign plans are required to file the Form 5500-EZ with the IRS or may file the Form 5500-SF, Short Form Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, electronically with EFAST2. See the instructions to the Form 5500-EZ for the filing requirements. For more information, go to http://www.irs.gov/ep or call 1-877-829-5500.
      7. An unfunded pension plan for a select group of management or highly compensated employees that meets the requirements of 29 CFR 2520.104-23, including timely filing of a registration statement with the DOL.
      8. An unfunded dues financed pension benefit plan that meets the alternative method of compliance provided by 29 CFR 2520.104-27.
      9. An individual retirement account or annuity not considered a pension plan under 29 CFR 2510.3-2(d).

      Kevin Bach, CPA, CVA