5500 Form Pointers

5500 form completion and 5500 form filing can present difficulties. This web site will help you avoid them. 5500 forms completed by an employer should be reviewed by a consultant or third party administrator, since answers to the questions require an extensive knowledge of pension (and benefit) plans. Incorrect or inappropriate responses can cause serious problems.

5500 Form Overview

Pointer: Three areas should be addressed to complete 5500 forms: systems and resources used, 5500 form filing requirements and specific information required on the 5500 forms. Failure to address all these areas could present difficulties.

Systems and Resources Used for 5500 Form Completion

Pointer: If series 5500 forms are completed in-house a 5500 form software package should be purchased from a 5500 forms vendor. These packages may make the calculations for you, identify inconsistent answers, perform audit checks on unacceptable responses and indicate which answers can precipitate problems with the IRS or Department of Labor (DOL). Publications written for the completion of these forms are also available. Seemingly minor and corrigible mistakes on the 5500 forms can lead to large penalties by the IRS or DOL, an audit by them or even plan disqualification.

5500 Form Filing Requirements

Pointer: It is important that the correct 5500 forms are filed for each plan, all 5500 form schedules and attachments are included and that they are sent to the correct I.R.S. office in a timely fashion. Specific information regarding these requirements can be found in the Instructions to the 5500 forms. As a precaution, evidence of mailing the 5500 forms, such as a certified letter, should be obtained.

Specific Information Required on the 5500 Forms

There are four general areas where problems can be encountered.

Pointer: The IRS generally prefers that the answers to 5500 form questions that are not applicable not be answered as N/A (since its computers cannot read this answer), but "no" in some instances (even if this answer does not make sense) and left blank in others. To determine how a particular question should be answered, the 5500 form software package provider should be consulted.

Pointer: The 5500 form software package you select should be able to handle all 5500 form calculations. An error can result in a returned form.

Pointer: All 5500 form answers must be consistent. Many 5500 form software packages provide checks to alleviate this problem.

Pointer: Some 5500 form answers can trigger further action by the IRS or DOL; for example, plans must be amended in a timely fashion and usually must have a fidelity bond.

5500 Form Further Assistance

To obtain any of the IRS series 5500 tax forms, visit our IRS form page and download any necessary 5500 forms.

If you have questions or need assistance in completing the 5500 forms, please complete our short form or call us at 718-793-9885 for further assistance.

Our web site home page contains additional useful information about pension plans.