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News Release

Labor Department, IRS Announce Joint Project for Failing to File Form 5500 Returns/Reports - Delinquent Filers Encouraged to Use Compliance Assistance Program

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (EBSA) and Internal Revenue Service today announced a joint project to ensure that all employee benefit plans have complied with their annual return/report (Form 5500) filing obligations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code. Failure to do so may result in significant monetary penalties.

Under the project, the agencies are conducting research of various databases to identify potential non-filers. Beginning in December 2002, the agencies will mail letters of inquiry to those identified as potential non-filers.

ERISA requires most private-sector plans to file the Form 5500 annually. Plan administrators who fail or refuse to comply with ERISA’s requirement may face civil penalties of up to $1,100 per day for each report. Likewise, the IRS may assess penalties of $25 per day (up to $15,000) for failure to timely file returns for certain pension and profit sharing plans.

The agencies, however, reminded delinquent filers of the availability of a program to assist plan administrators in filing delinquent reports. The Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program was established in April 1995 to encourage plan administrators to file overdue annual reports by paying reduced penalties. The program has been updated to substantially reduce the penalty amounts for delinquent Form 5500 reports in order to make it easier to participate in the program. In addition, the IRS stated that it will not assess penalties on delinquent filers who satisfy the requirements of the DFVC Program. Plan administrators who have been notified by EBSA about a delinquent filing are not eligible to participate in the program.

For more information about the project, contact EBSA at 202.693.8360 (this is not a toll-free number) or the IRS customer service number at 1.877.829.5500. Information about the DFVC Program is available from EBSA on its Web site at or by calling the number above. Questions about the Form 5500 should be directed to EBSA’s Toll-Free Employee & Employer Hotline number at 1.866.275.7922. Copies of previous filings can be requested by writing to: U.S. Department of Labor, Public Disclosure Office, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-1513, Washington, DC 20210.

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Internet. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the Central Office for Assistive Services and Technology. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202.693.7773 or TTY 202.693.7755.

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

Employee Benefits Security Administration
October 7, 2002
Release Number