IRS Form 5500

Form 5500 is for businesses to report to the IRS about their employee benefit plans.  This is an annual  requirement set into place by the IRS, the US Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

EmployerMaking Sure Businesses Run Pensions Properly…

You see, there are laws governing the standards regarding how pension plans are run.  This is to protect the employees, who are basically putting their retirement fun in the hands of their employers.

Somebody has to watch out for corruption and inept administration!

In addition to reporting that pension plans are being run properly, businesses must also use IRS Form 5500 to prove they are giving sufficient access to information about the plans to participants and regulators.

know howHow to File IRS Form 5500

Starting back in 2010, Form 5500 or Annual Returns/Reports of Employee Benefit Plan must be filed electronically.

There are two ways to file Form 5500 electronically:

  1. Use third party software that’s been approved by EFAST2.
  2. Use IFILE

EFAST2 is a division of the Department of Labor that manages software for filing IRS forms, including Form 5500.  They are also in charge of setting guidelines and setting standards and rating third-party software designed to file IRS forms electronically.

They maintain a list of approved commercial software companies that can help businesses fulfill their IRS Form 5500 requirements.


IFILE is the Department of Labor’s own electronic filing system for forms.  It’s part of EFAST2 …you can read the FAQs and how it works right on the DOL website.

IRS Form 5500-EZ

There is a version of the 5500 Form that can actually be filed on paper…it’s the Form 5500-EZ.

How do you know whether you can use Form 5500-EZ?  Easy: if your employee pension plan has only one participant, you’re in!  Form 5500-EZ is your form.

For a downloadable PDV of IRS Form 5500-EZ, follow this link to the IRS website.

If you run a one-participant plan but would like to use the EFAST2 system…in other words you would like to file electronically, then you will have to do the following because there is no way to file the 5500-EZ electronically.

Quick Tip for 1-Person Plans Who Want to File Electronically

File IRS Form 5500-SF instead- it can be used for pension plans like yours which have only 1 participant, and it’s also available on the EFAST2 system.  “SF” stands for “Short Form”.

Who Doesn’t Have to File Form 5500?

  • If your company’s pension benefit plan is not covered by ERISA, then you don’t have to file.
  • If your plan is actually a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) that meets certain qualifications.  See more in the IRS Form 5500 Instructions on the IRS website.
  • Church pension plans not electing coverage under Code section 410(D)
  • An IRA that’s not considered a pension plan
  • A government plan
  • A Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE)
  • …and a few more- see the link just above for the complete instructions

Welfare Benefit plans are required to be covered unless it’s for fewer than 100 participants and was unfunded at the beginning of the plan year…again, see more in the IRS website for the Form 5500 Instructions. Tax Refund


Blank Printable Form 5500 ez