Most Large 403(b)s Have not Filed Form 5500

August 31, 2010 ( – An EAlert from the American Institute of Certified Plan Accountants (AICPA) says most large 403(b) plans have not yet filed their Form 5500.

Accordingly, most have not filed their annual financial audit. AICPA said this conclusion is based on data from the Department of Labor’s EFAST2 electronic filing system. The AICPA’s Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center (EBPAQC) also said it has heard from many firms that they anticipate issuing modified audit reports.  

The EAlert noted that the initial filing deadline was July 31, 2010, and generally an extension of time up to two and one-half months may be granted provided that the plan requests an extension by filing IRS Form 5558 by the original due date for their Form 5500. With the October 15, 2010, filing extension deadline in mind, AICPA reminds plan sponsors that the DoL recognizes the challenges that plan sponsors and auditors are facing with 403(b) plan opening balances, and has issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2009-02 (see DoL Relief on Form 5500 Reporting Requirements for 403(b)s), which states that it will not reject a 403(b) plan Form 5500 on the basis of a qualified, adverse or disclaimed opinion if the accountant expressly states that the sole reason for such an opinion was because such pre-2009 contracts and accounts were not covered by the audit or included in the plan’s financial statements.  

AICPA said that DoL officials have indicated that it is not their intention to reject filings when appropriate explanation is made in the auditor’s report of the reasons for a modified report relating to opening balances; however, the plan may receive an inquiry regarding its good faith efforts to comply with the reporting requirements.  

The DoL has also issued FAB 2010-01, which answers many frequently asked questions from the 403(b) community on the new reporting requirements (see EBSA Offers Form 5500 Guidance for 403(b) Plans). 

Additional resources from the DoL are at  

Additional resources from the AICPA are here.