Unless an exemption applies, ERISA requires the plan administrator of each separate ERISA plan to file an “annual report” with the DOL containing specified plan information. The Form 5500 series is used for this purpose. ERISA authorizes the DOL to issue regulations exempting welfare plans from all or part of the Form 5500 reporting requirements, and the DOL has issued numerous exemptions for health and welfare plans. Many small plans—those with fewer than 100 participants—will be completely exempt from the Form 5500 reporting obligation. In addition, many large plans, while not completely exempt from filing Form 5500, will be exempt from some requirements, including the requirement to file Schedule H and attach an independent qualified public accountant’s (IQPA’s) opinion. Unless an ERISA welfare plan qualifies for one of the enumerated Form 5500 exemptions, it must file Form 5500.
For most employers with multiple welfare benefit plans, an ERISA Wrap (or Mega Wrap) will reduce the number of 5500s needed to be filed. See more about ERISA Wraps elsewhere in this site.
To learn more about 5500s in our Learning Center please Click Here.