Do Not Forget To File Your Form 8955-SSA. It Can Be Costly Not To!

Do Not Forget To File Your Form 8955-SSA. It Can Be Costly Not To!

It appears that some plan administrators have not been filing the required Form 8955-SSA with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Retirement plans, such as 401(k), 403(b), pension and profit sharing plans are required to file a Form 8955-SSA for each plan year that the plan had participants who separated from service with deferred vested account balances remaining in the plan. For 403(b) plans, this also includes participants who began receiving payments under a 403(b) contract or account, but the payments stopped before all of the participant’s benefits were paid. Note that 403(b) plans are not required to report a separated participant if the participant’s deferred vested benefits are attributable to a contract or account that is not treated as part of the 403(b) plan assets for purposes of the reporting requirements under Title I of ERISA.[1] The IRS sends the Form 8955-SSA to the Social Security Administration and that agency uses the information reported to notify individuals who apply for social security benefits, that they may be entitled to benefits from a plan sponsored by a former employer.

The Form 8955-SSA replaced the Schedule SSA, which historically was an attachment to the Annual Report Form 5500. However, in 2007, the DOL published final rules regarding the electronic filing of Form 5500s. One of the changes made by the new rule was the removal of the Schedule SSA as an attachment. As a result of this change, the IRS in conjunction with the Social Security Administration developed the Form 8955-SSA to replace the Schedule SSA. The Form 8955-SSA is a standalone document. It does not have to be filed with the DOL, only IRS.

For plan years beginning January 1, 2009, plan administrators were required to file the 2009 and 2010 Form 8955-SSA by the later of January 17, 2012 or the due date applicable for the 2010 plan year. For all other plan years thereafter, the filing deadline is the same as the due date for the Form 5500. The penalty for not filing a Form 8955-SSA is $1.00 per participant per day, up to a maximum of $5,000 for the plan year.

[1] In Field Assistance Bulletin 2009-02, the DOL allowed 403(b) plans to disregard certain 403(b) contracts as part of plan assets if (1) the contract was issued to current or former employees prior to January 1, 2009, (2) the employer ceased making contributions to the contract or account before January 1, 2009, (3) all rights and benefits under the contract or account are fully enforceable by the employee without employer involvement, and (4) the participant is fully vested in the contract or account.

Carroll Consultants, Ltd. (CCL) has been a leading provider of retirement plan services for over 60 years. As part of its investment advisory services, Carroll Consultants Advisors, Ltd. (a subsidiary of CCL) provides fiduciary education and investment advice to plan fiduciaries. To learn more on how CCL and Carroll Consultants Advisors, Ltd. can help you and your plan, please contact Marcie Carroll, (610) 225-1210, or mcarroll@cclbenefits.com.

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