Changes to Form 5500

By Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.

The IRS, the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation have jointly released the 2007 Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, and its related instructions. Some significant changes have been made to Form 5500 for plan year 2007.

A new simplified reporting option (required by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, P.L. 109-280) has been introduced for eligible plans with fewer than 25 participants. The simplified return/report consists of Form 5500; Schedules A, Insurance Information, B, Actuarial Information, I, Financial Information—Small Plan, and SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits; and the identifying information and Part II of Schedule R, Retirement Plan Information.

The Schedule B instructions have been revised to reflect the updated mortality tables in Regs. Sec. 1.412(l)(7)-1 and the list of codes used for valuation purposes. The mortality tables are used under Sec. 412(l)(7)(C)(ii) to determine current liability for participants and beneficiaries (other than disabled participants) for plan years beginning after January 1, 2007.

Because separate actuarial information schedules were developed for 2008 plan year filings, plans will no longer file Schedule B with their 2008 Form 5500. Filers required to file a Schedule B cannot use the 2007 forms to satisfy their 2008 filing requirements. Short plan year filers who must file a Schedule SB, Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Information, or Schedule MB, Multiemployer Defined Benefit Plan and Certain Money Purchase Plan Actuarial Information, and/or a supplemental attachment to Schedule R for 2008 will receive an automatic extension to file their complete Form 5500 until 90 days after the 2008 forms are available.

Information copies of the forms, schedules, and instructions are available online at Filers should monitor the EFAST website for information on approved software vendors for completing the 2007 forms and on the availability of the official government-printed forms. Advance copies of the 2007 Form 5500 cannot be used for 2006 plan year filings. For general assistance, contact the EFAST help line at (866) 463-3278.

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