On May 20th, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation released their final rule on 2022 Form 5500 filing and Form 5500-SF Short Form Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plans. The three agencies released related instructions for the Form 5500 series, as well. The changes the final rule introduces apply beginning with 2022 plan year reports. The agencies published an earlier final rule in December 2021 that released informational copies of Form 5500 for the 2021 plan year.

Overview of the Form 5500 Series

Altogether, the DOL, IRS, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation developed the Form 5500 Series to allow employee benefit plans to satisfy annual reporting requirements under Title I and Title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and under the Internal Revenue Code. ERISA sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established retirement and health plans in private industry. Specifically, ERISA provides protection for individuals in these plans.

Employee benefit plans and certain other entities are responsible for Form 5500 filing. The Form 5500 Series assures that employee benefit plans operate in accordance with certain prescribed standards. Additionally, it ensures that participants, beneficiaries, and regulators have access to sufficient information about their rights under employee benefit plans. Forms 5500 are among the five types of employee records all employers must keep.

Changes to 2022 Form 5500 Filing

Specifically, the final rule on 2022 Form 5500 filing focuses on improvements to reporting on the actuarial and retirement plan schedules (Schedules MB, SB, and R). These apply to defined benefit pension plans that are subject to Title IV of ERISA. In addition, the final rule’s changes to Form 5500 filing include:

  • Additions to the plan characteristics codes reported on line 8 of Form 5500, and on line 9 of Form 5500-SF. This improves data reported on defined contribution multiple employer plans, including pooled employer plans.
  • Clarification of Part II of Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF that collect plan sponsor and plan administrator information.

Form 5500 Filing Information

Form 5500 filing for 2022 is generally not due until seven months after the end of the 2022 plan year. Therefore, the 2022 due date for calendar year plans is July 31st, 2023. There will also be a two-and-a-half-month extension for those who file IRS Form 5558, Application for Extension of Time to File Certain Employee Plan Returns, on or before the normal due date. Per usual, the DOL will post online informational copies (or mock-ups) of the Form 5500 series and instructions. These will be available later this year and in advance of the annual January 1 “go live” date for EFAST2 filings.