IRS to Sponsors: Stop Filing 5500 Fringe Benefit Plan Data

July 18, 2003 ( - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a message for plan sponsors: Don't include any information on your Form 5500 about fringe benefit plans - please!

>The IRS issued the unusual plea to employers and plan sponsors because of a concern that many Form 5500 filers might still be unaware that the government has dropped fringe benefit plan reporting requirements from Form 5500 and gotten rid of the former Schedule F altogether. So, the IRS fears, many plan sponsors may try to manually edit the form or otherwise write in the no-longer required information.

>The tax agency could still be in for a headache if last year’s experience is any guideline: The IRS got nearly 70,000 unnecessary Form 5500/Schedule F returns – even after the rule change was announced. The only exception to the change are welfare benefit plans that are subject to Title I of ERISA and that are associated with fringe benefit plans, which still file Form 5500.

>With the deadline for most employee benefit plans to file 2002 Form 5500 coming up July 31, 2003, the tax officials have posted a series of Form 5500 filing tips on the IRS Web site. These tips are based on frequently asked questions the agency has gotten and on common reporting and filing errors the agency has analyzed from past years. 

The tips are at,,id=110293,00.html .