DoL Announces Changes to 2009 Form 5500

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Internal Revenue Service, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) announced the publication of revisions to the Form 5500 annual return/report for plan year 2009.

An EBSA news release said the changes include a deferral for one year of the move to the wholly electronic filing system. Plans and service providers will not be required to comply with form changes and the move to the electronic filing system until the due date for the plan’s 2009 Form 5500.

The department estimates that the form revisions and move to electronic filing together will save plans up to about $100 million per year, the release said.

Highlights of the changes include:

  • A new simplified annual reporting form for small plans with secure, easy to value investments with regulated financial institutions. The Labor Department estimates that approximately 594,000 of the 629,000 small plans required to file an annual report will be eligible to use the new Form 5500-SF or short form.
  • Improved financial disclosure by the approximately 16,000 403(b) plans subject to Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by making the reporting rules for those 403(b) plans on par with 401(k) plans.
  • Various technical improvements and clarifications to the form and instructions in response to public comments.

The forms also include annual reporting changes required by the Pension Protection Act (PPA) for defined benefit pension plans and multiemployer plans. The PPA required those changes to be implemented for the 2008 plan year, so the IRS said they will be included in the 2008 Form 5500 in a way that allows them to be filed in paper form under the current EFAST form processing system.

The 2009 Form 5500 package will be published on November 16 as two Federal Register notices – Notice of Adoption of Revisions to Annual Return/Report Forms and Notice of Final Rulemaking.

Informational copies of the forms will be available on EBSA’s Web site at