Experts remind retirement plan sponsors that they have “two masters”: the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). While the Department of Labor oversees compliance with ERISA, the IRS polices the tax code. Both rely on Form 5500 as a means of identifying potential compliance issues.
Accurate and Timely Submissions
Oversight of the annual submission of Form 5500 is a major fiduciary responsibility for plan sponsors. Delays and errors can trigger investigations—from both the IRS and the DOL. As legal expert Bradford Campbell explains:
A big part of plan sponsors’ responsibility is the accurate and timely filing of the annual Form 5500…This form becomes more detailed if/when the plan has more than 100 participants and includes details such as schedules of assets, fees and other information. It is one of the most important filings…as both the DOL and the IRS use this form to target enforcement actions. If a plan sponsor misses a year’s filing, both regulators tend to notice. “The rule of thumb is, if you’re not keeping up with your Form 5500, it probably suggests you’re not running your plan that well either…The DOL does look at that data as a basis for doing investigations of plans.”
Current ERISA Bond?
When filing Form 5500, it’s important to make sure the required ERISA fidelity bond is current and adequately covers the plan. Failure to have an up to date ERISA bond is in fact among the most common compliance issues caught by the IRS—and can trigger a DOL investigation. The ERISA fidelity bond protects the assets of the retirement plan from theft and can only be obtained from a surety listed by the US Department of Treasury. That’s why plan sponsors across the country trust leading national ERISA bond provider, Colonial Surety. Uniquely, Colonial includes retroactive ERISA fidelity bond coverage for years when the plan was not adequately covered. Additionally, plan sponsors can opt for cost-saving multi-year coverage, ensuring the ERISA bond remains Department of Labor compliant for the life of its term. Obtain ERISA Fidelity Bond Here Now.
Disaster Relief Filing Extensions?
Earlier this year, in the face of a swell of natural disasters, including Hurricane Ida, the IRS extended deadlines for the filing of Form 5500 in impacted states. In these designated areas, as Buck reports: tax relief postpones filing deadlines for Form 5500s originally due, with valid extensions, starting on or after August 26. For a calendar year plan, subject to extension, with a due date of October 15, 2021, the 5500 is now due on January 3, 2022.
While double checking that your plan is up to date on filings, it’s not too early to mark your calendar for 2022. Remember, unless granted an extension, Form 5500 must be filed: by the last day of the seventh month following the plan’s year end, with a two and a half month extension available. For calendar year plans, the initial due date is July 31 and, for those filing Form 5558 before the initial due date of July 31, the extended due date is October 15.
Headed Toward 2022!
Colonial Surety is here to help as you gear up for the new year. Stepped up audit requirements, cybersecurity and the rise of ERISA lawsuits are among the challenges plan sponsors face. Why go it alone? At Colonial, along with your ERISA bond, you can also affordably obtain fiduciary liability coverage. Importantly, this protects you—and your assets— from personal liability in the event you are faced with allegations of a fiduciary breach. With Colonial’s package, the annual premium is less that what you would pay for even one hour with an expert ERISA lawyer—and we even include cyber liabiity insurance! Just select an affordable package and receive your three point protection plan:
- The ERISA bond required to protect the assets of the retirement plan from theft;
- Fiduciary Liability coverage to protect you and your assets from personal liability.
- Cyber Liability coverage to safeguard your company and plan from covered losses and expenses in the event of a cyber breach.
Colonial makes it easy, fast, and direct to quote and purchase your coverage package online, from anywhere. Obtain Your Plan Sponsor Package Here Today.
Colonial Surety Company is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed and in business all across the country. Serving customers since 1930, we are the trusted source for the pension industry to secure legally required ERISA bonds, fiduciary liability insurance and cyber-liability insurance. With a Trustscore of 4.8, we help safeguard plan sponsors, pension professionals and financial advisors — and keep their businesses compliant — with pain-free, efficient, and friendly service every time.