Regulators Unveil 2008 Form 5500

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp released advance copies of the 2008 Form 5500 annual return/report.

A news release noted that pension and welfare benefit plans are required to file an annual return/report about their financial conditions, investments and operations each year and that they can generally satisfy that requirement by filing the Form 5500 and any required attachments.

According to a release, modifications to the Form 5500 for plan year 2008 are described under “Changes to Note’ in the 2008 instructions.

Significant changes include:

  • New actuarial schedules replace the Schedule B (Actuarial Information) and must be used for plan year 2008 plan filings—Schedule MB (Multiemployer Defined Benefit Plan and Certain Money Purchase Plan Actuarial Information) and Schedule SB (Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Information). If the due date of the plan’s 5500 occurs before the 2008 forms are available for filing, the plan has an automatic extension until 90 days after the 2008 forms are available for use for filing in which to file a complete Form 5500, including the Schedule SB or MB, as appropriate.
  • Multiemployer defined benefit pension plans generally must file additional information as attachments to the Schedule R (Retirement Plan Information). Defined benefit plans of 1,000 or more participants must also include financial asset breakout information as an attachment to the Schedule R.
  • The voluntary simplified reporting option for certain plans with fewer than 25 participants at the beginning of the plan year will continue for the 2008 filings.

Information copies of the forms, schedules, and instructions are available here. Filers should monitor the EFAST Web site for information on approved software vendors for completing the 2008 forms and on the availability of the official government-printed forms, according to the release.