US Labor Department releases advance copies of 2016 Form 5500 Annual Return/Report

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation today released advance informational copies of the 2016 Form 5500 annual return/report and related instructions. The “Changes to Note” section of the 2016 instructions highlight important modifications to the Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF and their schedules and instructions:

  • IRS Compliance Questions: Although they appear on the 2016 Form 5500, Form 5500-SF, Schedules H, I, and R, the IRS has decided that filers should not enter the “Preparer’s Information” at the bottom of the first page of Form 5500 for the 2016 plan year; and should not answer the IRS questions at Lines 4o and 6a through 6d of Schedules H and I and the “Part VII – IRS Compliance Questions” of the Schedule R. Similarly, filers who are using the Form 5500-SF to satisfy their annual reporting requirement should not complete the “Preparer’s Information” at the bottom of the first page, “Part VIII-Trust Information,” and “Part IX-IRS Compliance Questions” on the Form 5500-SF. Filers should skip these questions when completing the forms.
  • Administrative Penalties: The instructions have been updated to reflect an increase in the maximum civil penalty amount assessable under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act section 502(c)(2) required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. Department regulations published on July 1, 2016, increased the maximum penalty to $2,063 a day for a plan administrator who fails or refuses to file a complete or accurate Form 5500 report. The increased penalty under section 502(c)(2) is applicable for civil penalties assessed after Aug. 1, 2016, whose associated violation(s) occurred after Nov. 2, 2015 – the date of enactment of the  2015 Inflation Adjustment Act .
  • Schedules H and I: Line 5c is modified to add a new question. The existing Line 5c question asks, if a plan is a defined benefit plan, whether it is covered by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation insurance program. The new question asks filers that answered “Yes,” to enter the My PAA-generated confirmation number for the PBGC premium filing for the plan year.
  • Schedule SB. The instructions for CSEC plans, reported in Line 27, Code 1, have been updated to reflect guidance on certain issues relating to the application of the Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act.

The advance copies of the 2016 Form 5500 are for informational purposes only and cannot be used to file a 2016 Form 5500 annual return/report. Pension and welfare benefit plans that are required to file an annual return/report regarding their financial conditions, investments and operations each year generally satisfy that requirement by filing electronically the Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF and any required attachments under the all electronic EFAST2 system for submission, receipt, and processing of the Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF.

Information copies of the forms, schedules and instructions are available online at

Filers should monitor the EFAST website for the availability of the official electronic versions for filing using EFAST-approved software or directly through the EFAST website. Assistance with the EFAST2 system is available at or by calling 1-866-463-3278.

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