On Monday, November 2, 2015, the Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) of the Department of Labor sent about 1,200 letters by email to filers of 2014 Form 5500 returns that did not properly include the report of an independent accountant. The emails do not constitute enforcement correspondence — that is, the letters are not Notices of Rejection of the Form 5500 filing and do not start the running of the statutory 45-day correction period.
Emails of this type generally are sent to the individual whose credentials were used to file the Form 5500 series as or on behalf of the plan administrator the Form 5500 using the EFAST2 guidelines. If the practitioner/filer rules were employed, generally the practitioner will be the recipient of the email.
However, the correspondence should be a warning that the DOL has the situation on its radar and put pressure on the plan sponsor/administrator and the benefit plan auditor to quickly wrap up the audit and file an amended 2014 Form 5500 report including the report of the independent accountant. If the 2014 filing is not perfected in the next few weeks, such filers should expect EBSA to issue formal Notice of Rejection letters, which will be sent via express delivery service (e.g., USPS or UPS). These letters generally will be directed to the plan administrator named on the filing and will indicate that the 45-day statutory correction period has begun.
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