Bill affects 5500 filing date and summary annual report distribution date

On July 31, 2015, President Obama signed the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015, often referred to as the highway funding bill. The bill modifies the filing due dates for partnerships, C corporations, certain tax-exempt entities, and Form 5500 filers with the intention to create a more logical flow of information.

Form 5500 filing due dates

The highway funding bill changes filing due dates for taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015. The Form 5500's extension period increases to three and a half months from two and a half months beginning with the 2016 calendar year, making the Form 5500 returns due Nov. 15, 2017.

Impact to direct filing entities (DFEs)

It is unclear whether direct filing entities (DFEs) such as master trusts will be scoped into this extension. Currently, these entities must file nine and a half months after year-end with no extension available. The US Department of the Treasury (Treasury Department) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are expected to address whether the requirement should be changed to 10 and a half months to match the Form 5500 filings.

Summary annual report distribution

The Form 5500 extension will also affect the distribution of the summary annual report (SAR) to participants. The SAR is currently due within nine months after the close of the plan year. However, since, the SAR is required to be distributed within two months after the extended due date, it appears the sponsor has until Jan. 15 of the following calendar year for distribution.

For example, for the 2016 calendar year:

  • Plan year-end = Dec. 31, 2016
  • 5500 filing due (without extension) = July 31, 2017
  • 5500 filing due with extension = Nov. 15, 2017
  • SAR distribution due with extension = Jan. 15, 2018

Additional guidance from the DOL and Treasury Department to clarify unintended consequences and ambiguous areas of these modifications is expected.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly’s employee benefit plan specialists can help, contact our team.

The information provided here is of a general nature and is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any individual or entity. In specific  circumstances, the services of a professional should be sought. Tax information, if any, contained in this communication was not intended or written  to be used by any person for the purpose of avoiding penalties, nor should such information be construed as an opinion upon which any person may rely. The intended recipients of this communication and any attachments are not subject to any limitation on the disclosure of the tax treatment or tax  structure of any transaction or matter that is the subject of this communication and any attachments.