DOL Announces Proposed Form 5500 Updates

The Department of Labor today issued proposed revisions to Form 5500 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan that must be filed by all private sector employers under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code. The purpose of the form is to report information about the operation, funding, assets and investments of pensions and other employee benefit plans. Today’s 900-page proposed rule would update Form 5500 to reflect changes in applicable law and accommodate the evolving data needs of the federal regulatory agencies.

The proposed changes to the form include an expanded compliance reporting section with new questions about plan operations and management and service provider relationships; and updated questions about benefit plan investments and financial transactions, particularly those related to alternative investments, hard-to-value assets and investments through collective investment vehicles. DOL said it also plans to enhance the “mineability” of the data it collects, making it available to private sector analysts to help develop individualized tools for employers and employees to help them manage their retirement plans.

In addition, the rule would update the requirements for certifications for limited scope audits that would make the certifications more detailed and informative, and enhance the DOL’s ability to review limited scope audits.

ABA is in the process of reviewing the rule and will submit comments to the DOL on the proposal. Comments are due 75 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register, which DOL expects to do on July 21.