IRS Form 5500 Information

What is a Form 5500?

The Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, is the form used to file an employee benefit plan’s annual information return with the Department of Labor (“DOL”).


How often is it filed?
Who files?

Welfare Plans That Must File

  • Large Funded Plans
  • Large Unfunded Plans
  • Large Insured Plans
  • Large Combination Unfunded/Insured Plans
  • Small Funded Plans

IRS Form 5500 Q&A

ERISA Plans: Determining Plan Name, Number, and Year

Choosing a Plan Name

There are no specific legal requirements for determining a welfare benefit plan’s name. To help identify the plan, the plan’s name typically includes both the plan sponsor’s name and a general description of the benefits provided by the plan. For example, a group dental plan maintained by ABC Company may be called the “ABC Company Dental Plan.”

Choosing a Plan Number

As explained in the Instructions for Form 5500, an employer’s welfare benefit plans should be numbered consecutively starting with 501. Once a plan number is assigned, it should always be used in connection with that plan and should not be used for any other plan.

Plan Year

Section 3(39) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) defines “plan year” as the calendar, policy or fiscal year on which the records of the plan are kept. Although short plan years are allowed in some limited situations, a plan year is generally the 12-month period that was established when the welfare benefit plan became effective.

More Information

Links and Resources

  • DOL webpage on the Form 5500 Series, including links to informational copies of current and prior Forms 5500 and 5500-SF, schedules, instructions and links to general reporting and compliance assistance.
  • DOL webpage dedicated to EFAST2 electronic filing information, including links to FAQs about EFAST2 and EFAST2 User Guides.
  • DOL Fact Sheet and FAQs about the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program.
  • DOL’s Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF Filing Tips.
  • IRS Form 5500 Corner

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