The deadline is quickly approaching to file Form 5500 for employers who have calendar year welfare plans. Typically, if a plan has 100 or more “participants” at the beginning of the plan year, a Form 5500 filing requirement exists. Additionally, funded plans, (plans where benefits are paid for out of a trust), are required to file Form 5500 regardless of the number of participants in the plan.
Form 5500 is required to be filed by the last day of the 7th calendar month after the end of the plan year. Therefore, if a welfare plan has a plan year of 1/1/17 – 12/31/17, the Form 5500 will be due to the Department of Labor (DOL) by 7/31/18.
An extension can be filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), allowing the plan an additional 2 ½ months to file Form 5500. The Form 5500 would be due by October 15th for a calendar year plan. An extension is automatically granted if the extension is post-marked to the IRS before the 7/31/18 due date for the calendar year plan filings.
For non-calendar year plans, the filing is also due by the last calendar day of the 7th calendar month after the end of the plan year (e.g. if the plan year ends June 30 the 5500 filing is due on or before January 31st of the following year.)
If an employer has a Wrap Document in place “bundling” plans, then one filing is made for the bundled plans. If the employer does not have a Wrap Document in place, a Form 5500 must be filed for each ERISA welfare plan with 100 or more participants at the beginning of the plan year.
For the purpose of determining whether or not the plan must file Form 5500 “participants” generally does not include spouse or dependents covered on the plan.
When determining the filing requirement for a single benefit, determining participants is fairly easy. However, when looking at a bundled plan, or a plan with a Wrap Document in place a participant is only counted once. In other words, if an employee is a participant on the health plan, the dental plan and a life insurance plan, that participant would only be counted once.