Form 5500 Filing

Form 5500 Filing

What is Form 5500?


Form 5500 is additional ERISA reporting that many employers or plan sponsors don’t realize they’re required to file with the government. 5500 is an annual report submitted to the Department of Labor (DOL).

This form reports specific information on all ERISA benefits sponsored by an employer. This helps the DOL track ERISA benefits across the nation and helps them maintain compliance with IRS regulations.

Who is Required to File a 5500 Form? 

If an Employer sponsors any ERISA retirement plan (401K, IRA, Pension, etc.), the employer is required to file a Retirement 5500 every calendar year. Your Retirement Plan Administrator should help you prepare and file your Retirement 5500.

Please contact us if you do not have anyone to assist you with this and we will refer you to a few resources that can provide that assistance. HR Service B3PA does not file retirement 5500s.

If an Employer sponsors a Group Welfare Benefit program (medical, dental, vision, life, etc.), the employer MAY be required to file a Welfare 5500 every calendar year depending on certain criteria.

The criteria for filing a Welfare Benefit 5500 form depends on two main factors:

1 – How many employees are participating in the welfare benefits, and/or

2 – The funding level of your welfare benefits (Fully funded vs. Self/Level Funded).

See the below graphic to help determine if you need to file a 5500 or download our 5500 Determination Tool for better guidance.


Download the 5500 Determination Tool

ERISA Form 5500 Preparation

The 5500 reporting requirements are intended to ensure that employee benefit plans follow specific standards. These standards include that benefit participants have access to sufficient information to protect their rights and benefits provided under employee benefit plans.  

5500 Reporting Services

HR Service, Inc./B3PA makes filing your welfare benefit 5500 simple. We will file Form 5500 for you to make sure you remain compliant with IRS regulations. Let us help you compile all the necessary forms so you can complete this process as efficiently as possible.

Our filing services include:

Form 5500 Preparation

Complete preparation of your Welfare Benefit 5500 including all Schedule A’s and Schedule C’s (if needed).

Compliance Review

A comprehensive compliance review of current and past 5500 filings.

Annual Reporting

We take care of Summary Annual Report preparation.

5500 Filing

We file the 5500 forms with the DOL for you. No need for you to create a login with the DOL and remember your pin.

Late Filing/Penalty Assistance

Assistance with past/late filings is available. We can help with extensions and DFVC penalties if needed.

We are here to help!  Just click the call or email button to the right of the page to speak with us.

Form 5500 Due Dates and Penalties

Welfare benefit filing is due 7 months after your plan year ends.

(For example, if your plan year ended on 12/31, you would need to file your 5500 by 7/31 of the following year.)

 If you are not able to file your 5500 by the deadline, you can request a 5558 extension that gives you an additional 2.5 months to file. NOTE: This extension must be mailed to the IRS before the original deadline.

 If you are late or have never filed a 5500, there are certain penalties that will be assessed:

5500 Form Late Filing Penalty

Late filers of Form 5500 can be penalized by the IRS and the DOL.

IRS Penalties

The IRS imposes a $250 per day late penalty with a maximum of $150,000.

DOL Penalties

The DOL imposes a $2,452 per day penalty with no maximum cap on the amount you can be charged.

However, there is some relief for late or delinquent filers. The DOL has instituted a Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVC). This program allows late or delinquent filers to self-report and pre-pay their penalties. Doing so can significantly decrease the penalties paid.
Instead of the above penalties, all penalties are lumped into one fine. The rate drops to $10 per day with a per plan year cap of $2000 and a total payment cap of $4000.

Summary Annual Report (SAR)

Employers who are required to file a Form 5500 for their sponsored health plan must distribute a Summary Annual Report (“SAR”) to plan participants within nine months after the end of the plan year or two months after filing of Form 5500 if a filing extension was granted. A SAR stands for Summary Annual Report.

The SAR must be provided to each plan participant, including COBRA participants and terminated employees covered under the plan, during the applicable plan year. The SAR can be distributed by hand delivery, U.S. mail, or electronic delivery.

Employer group welfare plan Form 5500 filing and SAR required:

  • The plan is fully insured and has 100 or more participants on the first day of the plan year.
  • The plan is self-funded and uses a trust regardless of how many participants there are.
  • The plan is self-funded and relies on the Section 125 plan exemption if it has 100 participants on the first day of the plan year.

Exemptions to Form 5500 and SAR filing:

  • Church plans that are defined under ERISA Section 3 (33).
  • Governmental plans, including tribal governmental plans.
  • Top-hat plans that are unfunded or not insured and only benefit a select group of management or highly compensated employees.
  • Small insured or unfunded welfare plans (A welfare plan with fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year is not required to file an annual report if the plan is fully insured, entirely unfunded, or a combination of both.) 
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