PWBA Publishes 5500 Troubleshooter's Guide

May 10, 2001 ( - The Labor Department's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration has released the Troubleshooter's Guide to Filing the ERISA Annual Report (Form 5500).

The publication is designed to assist administrators of employee benefit plans in submitting their 2000 Form 5500 Annual Report, which is filed each year to comply with the annual reporting requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). 

It includes:

  • checklists for large and small pension plans;
  • checklists for fringe benefit plans;
  • checklists for direct filing entities (DFEs), such as master trust investment accounts, common/collective trusts and pooled separate accounts;
  • general guidelines for completing Form 5500 and accompanying schedules
    EFAST (ERISA Filing Acceptance System) processing of the Form 5500.

Troubles Talk

The document also outlines the various penalties and/or sanctions for compliance errors, including civil penalties of up to $1,100 per day per annual report against plan administrators who fail or refuse to comply with all annual reporting requirements.

The publication notes that the errors most likely to be committed by filers include:

  • omission of necessary information;
  • failure to completely answer multiple part questions;
  • attaching supplemental information to forms, rather than completing the necessary line items;
  • attaching information that is not properly completed and labeled; and
  • failure to use acceptable forms and to enter information correctly on the forms.

The publication does not cover Form 5500-EZ.

– Nevin Adams   

You can access the Troubleshooter’s Guide at: .

More Information

If you have questions about completing the Form 5500 or require assistance in responding to correspondence from PWBA about EFAST processing of Form 5500, you can call the PWBA at 866-463-3278.  This is a toll-free number.