Ask any plan administrator their most overwhelming time of year, and you will likely hear the answer ‘July’. This is, of course, when the Form 5500 filing deadline looms each year.
The Form 5500 Series is part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) reporting and disclosure framework, intended to ensure employee benefit plans comply with government regulations. This annual report is filed with the US Department of Labor (DOL) and contains information about a 401(k) plan’s financial condition, investments, and operation. The form’s purpose is to provide the IRS and DOL with information about the plan’s operation and compliance with regulations.
Simple answer – Opportunity Cost.
While this can be an overwhelming time of year, it can also be the most productive for you as a plan administrator. This is a time when you have the chance to provide expertise and attention to existing and prospective clients as well. Here’s how.
This is the moment where you can grab the opportunity to provide expertise and attention to existing and prospective clients. But that is only possible if you aren’t drowned in the repetitive task of Form 5500 filing.
Form 5500 filing requires several administrative intricacies, which can create additional work and take away from your core business focus of servicing clients. It can also end up hurting your bottom line if you miss deadlines – the DOL comes down hard on non-compliance.
Some of the little mistakes can pile up – for instance, incorrectly listed primary plan sponsor information, blank participant count fields, or omitting schedules for benefits. All of these can lead to a letter of inquiry from the DOL. Certain penalties are administrative, for example, a penalty of up to a certain amount for each day a plan administrator fails or refuses to file a complete and accurate report. But some penalties may inadvertently lead to legal tangles.
Outsourcing can take all these worries off your shoulders. Outsourcing the preparation service to a trusted third-party service provider with expertise in the process will leave you with a lot more time as a plan provider to strengthen your existing customer relationships and nurture new ones.
Engaging a third-party provider specializing in filing and administrative services for the retirement sector will ensure that all the required information is submitted accurately and on time.
It’s clearly in every retirement plan provider’s best interest to ensure information is filed correctly, accurately, and promptly. With years of experience working with retirement plan providers in the Retirement Plan industry, Congruent Solutions understands the intricacies of Form 5500 preparation better than most. If you, as a plan provider, record keeper or a TPA, are overwhelmed with form 5500 filing, please call us.