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Form 5500 Filing Fundamentals

As the 5500 filing season approaches, it's important to understand the ins and outs of Form 5500 filing if you are responsible for managing an employee benefit plan. This form reports an employee benefit plan's annual information to the Department of Labor (DOL). It includes key information on a business's health plans, employees, fees paid, and broker relationships. Here are a few things to keep in mind when filing…

Who needs to file

Only group plans with 100 or more participants as of the anniversary date each year are required to file, except for government and church groups.

What needs to be filed

Schedules must also be filed along with Form 5500. These schedules depend on the type of plan involved. For example, Schedule A is required for fully insured plans, while Schedule C is typically only needed for funded welfare benefit plans.

In addition, Form M-1 must be filed by certain Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) and entities claiming not to be MEWAs due to the exception for collectively bargained plans (i.e., entities claiming exemption).

Even though most plans will not be required to file Form M-1, they must state in the Form 5500 filing that they were not subject to the M-1 filing requirement.

Filing Deadline

Form 5500 must be filed by the last day of the seventh month following the end of the plan year unless an extension has been granted. For calendar-year plans, the deadline is July 31.

How to File

All filings must be submitted electronically through the EFAST2 portal, the ERISA Filing Acceptance System at


An extension is only available if applied for on or before the Form 5500 due date. Form 5558 can be filed for an automatic 2.5-month extension (e.g., for a calendar year plan, to October 15). Form 5558 must be filed with the IRS in paper form on or before the original due date of Form 5500. Once your due date has passed, Form 5500 must be filed through the Delinquent Filers Voluntary Compliance (DFVC) program.


In addition to possible criminal penalties for willful failure to file, the plan administrator can be fined up to $2,259 per day by DOL with no maximum limit. Then, the IRS can tack on an additional penalty of $250 per day, up to a maximum of $150,000 per plan year.

Please keep in mind that this is a general overview, and your plan may have specific requirements and circumstances. It's always best to consult with a Form 5500 preparer or legal counsel to ensure compliance.

If you need help, Medcom offers professional 5500 filing services to simplify the process every step of the way. Trusting Medcom for your filing needs means more than just ticking boxes—it's about securing a reliable partner invested in your compliance journey. Don't risk penalties or compliance hiccups. Let us handle the hard stuff while you focus on your core business. With our expert team and streamlined processes, you can feel confident your filing will be done correctly and on time every time. Don't hesitate to contact us at if you have questions or want to get started!


Resource: DataPath.

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