When the 2015 Form 5500 series was released in December 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) included new, optional IRS compliance questions. The corresponding instructions encouraged filers to answer these optional compliance questions and the IRS followed-up with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) explaining how to do so. Unfortunately for the IRS, they did not get prior approval from the Office of Management and Budget and have now removed the FAQs from their website. The posted notice stated that because the questions had not been approved, plan sponsors should not complete these items for 2015 plan year filings. Each affected form and schedule is listed on the website in the hyperlink below. Included in that list of do-not-answer compliance questions is some information regarding trusts and paid preparers even though these items were included on prior Form 5500 series. Subsequently, the 2015 Instructions for the Form 5500 series have been revised but not the actual forms or schedules. The final 2015 Form 5500-EZ includes similar IRS compliance questions and both the Form 5500-EZ and its Instructions indicate that these items should be skipped.

Next Steps

  • Employers with 100 or more enrolled on your health plan on the first day of the plan year are required to file Form 5500 with the DOL. There are exemptions for church and government plans.
  • Applicable employers may proceed with their 2015 filings with few adjustments needed from their 2014 filings (with the exception of certain Form 5500-EZ filers that will be required to file electronically for the first time under the new IRS electronic filing rules, effective for the 2015 filing year). Employers may skip any of the listed compliance questions.
  • Although most of the questions that may be skipped refer to retirement plans, this information may in some cases be helpful and applicable to health and welfare plans as well. For complete details, see 2015 Instructions for Form 5500 Series at: