Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mandatory Electronic Filing for Certain Form 8955-SSA and 5500-series Returns

  • Final Regulations issued under Internal Revenue Code Sections 6057, 6058 and 6059 (T.D. 9695) generally require filers who have to file at least 250 returns with the IRS during the calendar year to file Form 5500-series returns and Form 8955-SSA electronically.

  • The preamble to the regulations notes that the IRS anticipates adding items on the 2015 Forms 5500 and 5500-SF that relate solely to the Internal Revenue Code requirements and providing an optional paper-only form containing those Code-related items to filers who aren’t required to file electronically.
If you don’t file electronically when required to do so, you’ll be considered to not have filed the return, and you may incur appropriate penalties.

Effective date
  • Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits, must be filed electronically for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, but only for returns with a filing date on or after July 31, 2015 (not including extensions).

  • Form 5500 series returns must be filed electronically for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2015, but only for returns with a filing deadline (not including extensions) after December 31, 2015.
Electronic filing systems

Use EFAST2 (ERISA Filing Acceptance System) to electronically file:
  • Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, and
  • Form 5500-SF, Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan.
Use FIRE (Filing Information Returns Electronically) to electronically file Form 8955-SSA.

One-participant plans

Electronic filing isn’t available for Form 5500-EZ, Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and their Spouses) Retirement Plan. However, Form 5500-EZ filers required to file their returns electronically under the final regulations, who would otherwise file a paper Form 5500-EZ, must instead file Form 5500-SF electronically through EFAST2, but aren’t required to attach:
  • Schedule SB, Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Information, or
  • Schedule MB, Multiemployer Defined Benefit Plan and Certain Money Purchase Plan Actuarial Information.
250-return threshold

When determining the 250-return threshold, aggregate all returns, including information returns. For example, include the following returns:
  • Forms W-2 and 1099-R; and
  • income, employment and excise tax returns.
Certain delinquent returns

Late filers who want relief under the following programs must file paper returns and meet other program requirements:
Additional resources

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