PWBA Offers Toll-Free Assistance

February 28, 2001 ( - Plan sponsors and providers can get toll-free assistance in completing Form 5500 from the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA).

The new toll-free number (1-866-463-3278) replaces the previous toll number of the agency’s EFAST Help Desk.

Delinquent Filer Guidance

The PWBA has also issued guidance to help plan administrators use the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance (DFVC) Program to meet ERISA’s reporting obligations.

The DFVC Program was started in 1995, and was targeted at plan administrators who are delinquent in filing Form 5500 Series annual reports with the federal government.

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the department was permitted to assess civil penalties of up to $1,000/day against plan administrators who fail to file complete and timely annual reports. 

The new guidance suggests that plan administrators that have not filed, or file late, may be eligible for reduced civil penalties.  Specifically, the penalty amount will depend on the lateness of the filing for 1999 and subsequent year filings, ranging from a low of $50 per day for Form 5500 filings that are one year or less late up to $5,000 if the filing is later than one year.

Special penalties apply for Form 5500-C filers, apprenticeship and training plans and plans maintained for certain management and highly compensated employees.

The press release notes that failure to file timely reports for pension plans may also result in penalties by the IRS.

Additional information about the DFVC Program and filing procedures are available at .   Questions can be directed to the department at 202/219-8818.

– Nevin Adams

The DFVC guidance is at