Changes to Form 5558 for sponsors who file extensions

Many plans make use of Form 5558 to request an automatic extension for filing the plan’s tax return and/or deferred vested benefit information with the IRS. If you fall into that category, take note of a few very recent changes to the form, which was released this month.

–          You can only request an extension for one plan per Form 5558. Previously, plan sponsors had space for three plans on one form and often attached a list of all plans (including retirement and health plans) to one form. If you submitted an extension for multiple plans on one form on or after July 31, 2012, it will not be processed, and the IRS will not return it to you. You need to go back and re-submit one plan per form.

–          There is a new box to check on the form when a plan is filing a Form 5500 series (annual return/report for an employee benefit plan) for the first time.

–          You no longer have to have a signature for an automatic two and a half month extension to file Form 8955-SSA. (That’s the form that must be used annually to report information about terminated participants with deferred vested benefits.)  Without an extension, Form 8955-SSA is due on the last day of the 7th month after the close of the plan year – the same day as the Form 5500. The ‘no signature’ requirement is effective as of June 21, 2012.

–          A signature is not, and never has been, required for the Form 5500 series.

–          A signature is still required to file Form 5330 – Return of Excise Taxes Related to Employee Benefit Plans.

To avoid delays in processing your requests, always use the most current form. You can download a copy of the revised Form 5558 (Rev. August 2012) as well as other forms related to retirement plans at the IRS’ Form 5500 Corner.