Welfare Benefit Plan Form 5500 Filing Requirements

While most plan sponsors are aware of the Form 5500 filing requirements for company retirement plans, many employers overlook the annual reporting demands associated with welfare benefit plans.  Welfare benefit plans can offer a variety of insurance coverage such as health, dental, vision, life insurance and disability benefits.  Generally, welfare benefit plans with 100 or more participants on the first day of the plan year and that are at least partially funded by employee-paid premiums require an annual Form 5500 filing.  In addition, even if a plan has fewer than 100 participants but has premiums paid through a trust, a Form 5500 filing may be required.

Form 550 Filing Exclusions

Based on IRS regulations, there are several welfare benefit plans that are exempt from annual Form 5500 filing requirements.  Plan excluded from the annual Form 5500 filing requirement include:

  1. Unfunded and fully insured plans or combined unfunded/fully insured plans covering fewer than 100 participants
  2. Non-U.S. or nonresident alien plans
  3. Governmental plans
  4. Unfunded or fully insured welfare plans for a select group of management or highly compensated employees
  5. Worker’s comp, unemployment comp or disability insurance law plans
  6. Welfare plans that participate in a group insurance arrangement
  7. Apprenticeship or training plans
  8. Unfunded dues-financed welfare plans
  9. Church plans
  10. Welfare plans maintained for individuals or individuals and their spouse who own a trade or business

Despite the number and range of welfare plans that are excluded from the annual Form 5500 filing requirement, many company-sponsored welfare plans do not qualify for any of these exclusions.  It is incumbent upon plan sponsors to fully understand all features of their welfare benefit plans and to accurately calculate the number of participants on the first day of each plan year in order to avoid potential delinquent Form 5500 filings.  The failure to file Forms 5500 for a welfare benefit plan in a timely manner will subject the plan sponsor to significant IRS penalties.

Due to the complex regulations related to welfare benefit plans, it is best for plan sponsors to seek the advice of professionals in order to determine if the Form 5500 filings are required.  Schneider Downs & Co., Inc. is proud to employ a team of employee benefit plan professionals who are ready to help any company in need of assistance.  Please contact Karl W. Kunkle (412-697-5401) for employee benefit plan assistance.

© 2014 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax related matter.

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