Form 5500 Reporting Relief for 403(b) Plans

As you may already know, new regulations require that all organizations and churches establish a written plan document for 403(b) plans (tax-sheltered annuity plans) by no later than 12/31/09. In addition, the Department of Labor has revised the Form 5500 annual filing for benefit plans to require expanded reporting for 403(b) plans. Plans filing the Form 5500, even small plans, must report aggregate financial information regarding the assets of the plan. This can be difficult, or even impossible, for some plans because some accounts are controlled by the employee, and the organization may not have any knowledge that the account exists, especially if they are no longer making contributions to that specific account. Acknowledging this problem, the Department of Labor issued a bulletin stating the plan does NOT have to report these accounts provided they meet certain guidelines. For more information see Field Assistance Bulletin 2009-02, 07/20/2009 at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fab2009-2.html . (NOTE: “Church Plans” are still exempt from the Form 5500 reporting requirement and other ERISA rules – contact your tax advisor or benefits specialist to verify the status and requirements for your plan.)