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Form 5500 FAQ

  • What is the purpose of Form 5500?

    The Form 5500 is an annual report, filed with the Department of Labor (DOL), that reports information about a 401(k) plan's financial conditions, investments, and operations. In general, all retirement plans, such as Profit Sharing Plans and 401(k), must file a Form 5500 for every year the plan exists.

  • When must the Form 5500 and applicable schedules be filed with the Department of Labor (DOL)?

    Generally, the Form 5500 and applicable schedules must be filed by the last day of the seventh month following the close of the plan year. For calendar year plans, this date is July 31. If the filing deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a federal holiday, the due date is the following business day.

  • What is a Fidelity Bond and is it required for my retirement plan?

    ERISA requires every plan fiduciary and anyone else who handles or has the authority to handle plan assets to be covered by a bond. A Fidelity Bond is an insurance policy that names the plan as the insured party and covers anyone who handles or has the authority to handle plan assets. The required amount of bond coverage is the lesser of 10 percent of plan assets at the beginning of the plan year or $500,000.

  • Who is required to sign and where do I sign?

    The plan administrator must electronically sign and file the Form 5500. In addition, the plan administrator must keep a copy of the Form 5500, including schedules and attachments, with all required ink signatures on file with the plan's records.

Close up of woman filling out form at desk
  • How do I start the Form 5500 electronic filing process?

    If you don’t already have DOL signing credentials, obtain them at Then, log in to our Retirement Services Website for Employers and follow the prompts to file Form 5500.

  • Does Paychex file my Form 5500 and applicable schedules with the DOL?

    No. You, the client (i.e. plan sponsor), will receive an electronic signature-ready Form 5500 with the applicable schedules via the Retirement Services website. Paychex will notify you when the form is ready. You are required to review the information for accuracy and file the Form 5500 with the DOL by the filing due date.

  • Are there penalties for failure to file a Form 5500 with the DOL?

    The DOL and IRS may impose penalties or fines if a plan sponsor fails or refuses to file a complete return or if the Form 5500 is rejected for insufficient information. Additional penalties may be incurred for willful violations, which include making false statements. Filings will be rejected by the DOL if required questions are left unanswered.

  • Where do I file the signed Form 5500 and applicable schedules?

    The DOL requires that all Form 5500 annual returns be filed electronically using their ERISA Filing Acceptance System (EFAST2) program. The agency will no longer accept paper filings.

  • How do I file an extension?

    IRS Form 5558 must be mailed to the IRS by the filing deadline to receive an extension on the due date.

  • What is the Summary Annual Report (SAR)?

    The SAR is an ERISA required document that summarizes the information reported on the Form 5500 and schedules. The SAR must be distributed to each participant and their beneficiaries receiving benefits under the plan no later than two months following the Form 5500 filing deadline, unless the client filed for an extension, in which case they have until December 15. The SAR notifies participants that they have the right to request a copy of the statement of assets and liabilities of the plan. A copy of Form 5500 and Schedule I would fulfill this request.

  • Who do I contact with questions or to learn more about the Form 5500 filing?

    You can view video tutorials for filing the Form 5500, obtaining EFAST2 Filing Credentials, and filing the Form 8955-SSA by clicking here: Tutorials

    If you have questions, please contact us via email us at

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