Rejection of 2009 Form 5500 Filing Relief

It was a bit of a longshot to begin with, but the American Benefits Council’s proposal for a blanket extension for filing of 2009 Forms 5500 until December 31, 2010 (or 9 1/2 months after the end of the plan year, if later) was recently rejected by the DOL. As the DOL mentions in their response letter, the current Form 5558 extension is not a difficult filing and should allow ample time for plan sponsors to file their Forms 5500.

The main reason for the ABC’s request was the new requirement that pretty much all 5500 filings be completed electronically (starting with the 2009 plan year filings due this year). The EFAST2 filing system is finally up and running, but initial experience has been less than stellar. We have had first-hand experience with some of the technical difficulties that vendors are experiencing in dealing with supposedly EFAST2-compliant software that still has some bugs to be ironed out. That being said, it is probably not worth trying to force the completion of a 5500 filing by the end of July since in most cases it is quite simple to just file the 5558 extension. Hopefully in the next few weeks the EFAST2 system will be running smoother and third-party software will have overcome most of its growing pains.

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