Plan Regulators Release Latest Form 5500 and Backup

December 30, 2003 ( - Plan sponsors may want to take a look at the latest incarnation of the 2003 Form 5500 along with tips from federal regulators on how to stay away from typical filing mistakes and frequently asked questions (FAQs) for small pension plans using the audit exception.

>The forms and supporting data are courtesy of the US Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

>According to a news release, the Form 5500 and Form 5500-EZ for plan year 2003 are pretty much the same as they were the year before.   Minor modifications have been made to the instructions and attachments to be filed with the forms.  

The tips and FAQs will help plans avoid basic filing errors and explain the conditions that small pension plans must meet to be eligible for a waiver of the annual audit requirement.   The FAQs also include model summary annual report language for the required participant notice under the small plan audit exception.

Beginning this year, the Forms 5500 and 5500-EZ booklets with the official hand print forms and instructions will not be automatically mailed to filers of record.   A postcard will be mailed instead to remind filers of the filing obligation.

The official government printed forms will be available early next year by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM. Filers should monitor  the EFAST web site  for information on approved software vendors for completing 2003 Forms 5500 by computer and for electronic filing options.   Filers may contact the EFAST Help Line for general assistance by calling 1-866-463-3278.

Information copies of the latest 5500 forms, schedules and instructions, the tips and FAQs are available on EBSA’s web site at .