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How do employees get information about the plan?
ERISA requires plan administrators to furnish plan information to participants and beneficiaries, and to submit reports to government agencies. There are penalties for failing to file required reports and for failing to provide required information to participants.
Informing participants and beneficiaries
The following documents must be furnished to participants and beneficiaries:
Reporting to the Government
Plan administrators for defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans are generally required to file a Form 5500 Annual Return/Report with the Federal Government. The Form 5500 reports information about the plan and its operation to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), participants, and the public. Depending on the number and type of participants covered, the filing requirements vary. The form is filed and processed under the ERISA Filing Acceptance System (EFAST).
EBSAís EFAST Web site has information on the forms, their instructions, and the filing requirements, including the publication Reporting and Disclosure Guide for Employee Benefit Plans.
Federal law generally requires employee benefit plans with 100 or more participants to have an audit as part of their obligation to file the Form 5500. For information on hiring and working with an auditor see Selecting An Auditor For Your Employee Benefit Plan
The Department of Labor has a Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program to assist late or non-filers of the Form 5500.