(b)lines Ask the Experts – Form 5500 Filings With Change in Plan Year

Our hospital sponsors a large Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) 403(b) plan.

“We used to operate the plan on a fiscal year basis, so we would file our 5500s for a 7/1-6/30 plan year (which is our fiscal year). However, on the advice of counsel, we are converting the plan year to a calendar year, effective 1/1/2017. Thus, I realize our 5500 filing for 2017 will be for the 1/1-12/31/2017 time period, and that will not be due until 7/31/2018, unless extended. However what about the 2016 filing? Year-end is a busy time around here, and I want to make certain that no 5500 filings fall through the cracks.” 

David Levine and David Powell, with Groom Law Group, and Michael A. Webb, vice president, Retirement Plan Services, Cammack Retirement Group, answer: 

First of all, you should confirm the specific time periods for 5500 filings with the same counsel that advised you to switch to a calendar year filing, since there may be circumstances regarding your plan about which the Experts are not aware.

Having said that, in general, if you are converting from a 7/1-6/30 year filing to a calendar year filing effective 1/1/2017, normally your 2016 filing would be for the short plan year from 7/1/2016-12/31/2016. That filing would not be due until 7/31/2017, unless extended. However, your regular filing for the 2015 plan year, for the period from 7/1/2015-6/30/2016, is due on 1/31/2017 unless extended to 4/18/2017. (Note: April 15th falls on a Saturday, and DC Emancipation Day, which is a filing Holiday, is observed on April 17th, which is why the extended filing deadline is April 18th).

You should be working with your plan auditor and recordkeeper(s) to make certain they are aware of all deadlines and are managing data and workflow accordingly so that all of these filing deadlines are met.

Thank you for your question!


NOTE: This feature is to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice.  

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