Who must file:

Employers with 100+ plan participants on the first day of the benefit plan year are required to file an annual Health & Welfare Form 5500 with the IRS for all group health plans that are subject to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).  Both fully and self-insured employers are required to file. Church and governmental health plans are generally exempt from the 5500 filing requirement.


Filing deadline:

The deadline for filing Form 5500 is the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends.  For calendar year plans, the deadline is 7/31; however, if an extension request is filed, the deadline may be extended an additional two and a half months.  As such, the deadline for a calendar year plan would be 10/15 for employers that have received a filing extension.


Document Retention:

Employers should be sure to keep a signed copy of the original form 5500 filing on file for at least 6 years from the date of filing.


Employer Responsibility:

Employers should always be sure to review the 5500 carefully before filing. The form is signed under penalty of perjury by the plan sponsor.  As such, if a TPA, broker, etc. prepares a draft of the 5500 for the company, the plan sponsor will be the one responsible for the filing and its contents.

Common Issues for Review:

  • Ensuring the plan name and plan number are accurate.
  • Checking plan codes.
  • Checking whether there is a fidelity bond and if it is noted in the filing.
  • Reporting of leased employees.
  • Employer’s controlled group or multiemployer status.
  • Ensuring pertinent plans are included in the filing.



For Sequoia clients only:

•Sequoia requests a filing extension every year to ensure there is sufficient time to gather documents from the carriers.  As such, the 5500 filing deadline for Sequoia clients with a calendar year plan will be 10/15.

•Sequoia works with an outside CPA firm to prepare the draft of the Form 5500 and e-mails the draft to applicable employer clients for review around 9/15.  Instructions will be included in the email explaining what the employer is required to do.  It is extremely important that all plan sponsors review the 5500 carefully with their preferred counsel before filing.  Upon receipt of the email, employers should follow the enclosed instructions and be mindful of the 10/15 filing deadline.


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