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News Release

EBSA Press Release: Labor Department Announces Delay of New Form 5500 to 1999 Plan Year to Provide Filers with More Filing Time [02/04/1998]

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

For more information call: (202) 219-8921

The Department of Labor announced today that, in response to public comments, the implementation of the streamlined Form 5500 Annual Return/Report is being delayed until the 1999 plan year to give plans and their service providers more time to prepare for the new form.

The proposed streamlined form -- which represents the joint efforts of the Labor Department's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA), the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation -- is designed to lessen the administrative burdens and costs incurred by the more than 800,000 employee benefit plans that file Form 5500s each year.

The agencies intend that the new Form 5500, if adopted, will be effective for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 1999. The objective is to use the new streamlined form for the 1999 plan year annual reports, which are generally due 7 months after the end of the plan year. By this timetable, the new forms generally would first be filed beginning in July 2000.

"Many of the comments on the Form 5500 proposal expressed concerns as to whether plans and their service providers would have adequate time to make the necessary adjustments in their recordkeeping and information management systems to accommodate the new forms for the 1998 plan year," said PWBA Assistant Secretary Olena Berg. "They also indicated a desire to have the new form in advance of the year for which it is needed. The action taken today is intended to ease the transition to a new form."

The proposed Form 5500, published in the Federal Register on Sept. 3, 1997, was structured along the lines of tax returns familiar to individual and corporate taxpayers -- a simple one-page main form with basic information and a checklist to show which of the more detailed schedules are being filed applicable to the filer's specific plan type. A public hearing was held on the new form Nov. 17 at the Labor Department and the comment period ended Dec. 3, 1997. The agencies are now evaluating the public comments and working on developing a final version of the new Form.

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This information is available on PWBA's Internet site at and includes a hyperlink to the new proposed form as published in the Sept. 3, 1997, Federal Register.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
February 4, 1998
Release Number