2011 Form 5500 Has Been Released

Dave Miller

The Department of Labor (DOL) has released the 2011 Form 5500.  There are only a few changes from last year’s instructions.  These changes mainly add clarifications to the instructions rather than actually changing the Form 5500 or the information requirements.

Expenses.  Further guidance has been provided concerning contributing employers in a multi-employer or multiple-employer plan paying the expenses of the plan.  Whether the expenses are paid directly by the employer, or the employer reimbursed the plan for the expenses, they should be treated as being paid by the plan sponsor.  Any expenses that are paid by the plan sponsor do not need to be disclosed on Schedule C as a payment to a particular vendor.  Although not previously in the instructions, this is consistent with previous guidance provided by the DOL.

Remitting Participant Deferrals.  The instructions for Schedule I were updated concerning timeliness of remitting participant deferrals.  Employers have always needed to remit employee deferrals as soon as they can reasonably be segregated from the employer’s general assets.  The changes now stipulate that plans with fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year can consider contributions to be submitted timely if they are paid within seven (7) days of when the employee would have been paid, had the money not been deferred.  However, for plans with more than 100 participants, there is still no safe harbor time frame.

Pension Obligations.  The instructions for schedules MB and SB, which show the actuarially calculated value of future pension obligations, have been modified to incorporate provisions of the Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and the Pension Relief Act of 2010.

Reporting Requirements for Puerto Rican Plans.  Lastly, the instructions have been clarified concerning the reporting requirements for certain sponsors of Puerto Rican plans.

For additional details regarding these changes, visit the DOL website at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/5500main.html.

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