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Understanding the 2014 Form 5500 for Defined Benefit Plans

If you have a defined benefit plan, this guide may help you file your Form 5500-EZ or 5500-SF.

Plan administrators for Keoghs, defined benefit plans, corporate pension and profit sharing plans, certain 403(b) plans, and 401(k) plans must generally file a Form 5500 each year. Beginning with tax year 2009, the IRS and the Department of Labor (DOL) made significant changes regarding the Form 5500 filing options and/or requirements that may affect many Fidelity small business plans.

Every year by April 30, Fidelity mails and makes viewable online Annual Valuation Statements. These documents provide comprehensive information on your plan and can help you complete your respective Form 5500. It is important to complete your form carefully as the federal government may impose penalties for non-compliance with filing regulations. Consult your tax advisor, the IRS, or the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the DOL with any questions.

There are three types of Form 5500: Form 5500-EZ—for one-participant plans only; Form 5500-SF—for one-participant plans as well as for plans with less than 100 participants; and Form 5500—for plans with 100 or more participants.

All 5500 forms, with the exception of Form 5500-EZ, must be filed electronically using the DOL ERISA Filing Acceptance System (EFAST2). A DOL EFAST help line is available at 866-GO EFAST (866-463-3278).

One-participant plans
A one-participant plan covers a business owner with no employees. However, the plan can cover a business owner and his/her spouse, or a business partnership (where the partners and their spouses are the only participants).

If you have a one-participant plan, you have the option of filing either Form 5500-EZ or Form 5500-SF. If you decide to use Form 5500-EZ, it must be filed on paper with the IRS. It cannot be submitted electronically. You can either complete, print, and mail the form available online or obtain a blank copy from the IRS. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 5500-EZ (PDF).

In some cases, one-participant plans may not be required to file any 5500 forms. Generally, if the total plan assets are $250,000 or less, you may not need to file. Please refer to the IRS Instructions for Form 5500-EZ (PDF) or Instructions for Form 5500-SF (PDF) for more details on the various criteria that apply.

Plans with fewer than 100 participants
Plans that are not one-participant plans and have fewer than 100 participants must file electronically using Form 5500-SF. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 5500-SF (PDF) or visit the EFAST2 web site.

Plans with 100 or more participants
Plans with at least 100 participants must file electronically using Form 5500. For more information on completing Form 5500, see the Form 5500 Instructions (PDF) or visit the EFAST2 web site and/or consult your tax advisor.

For more information on which 5500 forms to use, please see our FAQ, Who should file Forms 5500-EZ, 5500-SF, or 5500 and which form should I file?

Illustrated explanation of your Annual Valuation Statement

Your Annual Valuation Statement (AVS) provides information which may help you to complete your respective Form 5500. Consult your tax advisor, the IRS, or the Department of Labor (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), with any questions.

Click on the number for a detailed explanation of that section.

Illustrated explanation of Form 5500-EZ

Form 5500-EZ—For single participant plans

Use the following information, together with the Instructions for Form 5500-EZ provided by the IRS, for details on how to complete and file Form 5500-EZ. Administrators who choose to file Form 5500-EZ must mail the paper copy to the IRS. It cannot be submitted electronically. They can either complete, print, and mail the form available online, or obtain a blank paper copy from the IRS. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 5500-EZ (PDF).

Click on the number for a detailed explanation of that section.

  • Who should file Forms 5500-EZ, 5500-SF, or 5500, and which forms should I file?

    Form 5500-EZ—As in past years, one-participant plan administrators may continue to use the Form 5500-EZ to satisfy certain annual reporting and filing obligations. A one-participant plan is generally for a business owner (or an owner and his/her spouse, if they are the only participants) or for a business partnership (where the partners and/or their spouses are the only participants). Administrators must file this paper form with the IRS.

    You do not have to file a Form 5500-EZ (or Form 5500-SF) for a plan year (other than the final plan year), if you meet the conditions for filing Form 5500-EZ (or Form 5500-SF) and you have one or more one-participant plans that separately or together had total assets of $250,000 or less at the end of that plan year. Please refer to the IRS Instructions for Form 5500-EZ (PDF) or Instructions for Form 5500-SF (PDF) for details.

    Form 5500-SF – Most small business retirement plans with fewer than 100 participants may complete and file Form 5500-SF electronically. However, only one-participant plan administrators may choose to complete the paper Form 5500-EZ.

    Form 5500 – Form 5500 must be completed by plans with 100 or more participants. It may only be completed and filed electronically. For more information on completing Form 5500, consult the Instructions for Form 5500 (PDF) and/or your tax advisor.

    Other filing details:

    Employer Identification Number: To file a Form 5500-EZ with the IRS, or a Form 5500-SF or Form 5500 with the Department of Labor (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) you will need an Employer (Tax) Identification Number (EIN). If you do not have an EIN you may:

  • Where should I file Forms 5500?

    Forms 5500 and 5500-SF must be filed electronically with the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), not the IRS or Fidelity, see the respective Instructions for details. A DOL/EBSA EFAST help line is available at 1-866-GO EFAST (866-463-3278).

    Form 5500-EZ must be filed, on paper, with the IRS using the following mailing address: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Ogden, UT 84201-0020. If you are filing for 2014 with Form 5500-EZ, you may only use the official 2014 version of Form 5500-EZ. You may want to mail your 5500 filing by certified or overnight mail for proof of mailing. Refer to the IRS list of approved certified or overnight mail providers in the instructions.

  • What is the deadline for filing?
    Forms 5500 must generally be filed by the last day of the seventh month following the end of the plan year, unless an extension has been granted. For calendar–year plans, the deadline is July 31, 2015.
  • How can I obtain an extension for filing?
    To obtain a two-and-one-half-month extension, eligible filers may file Form 5558 with the IRS before the due date of their Form 5500. Plans eligible to file Form 5500-EZ are automatically granted an extension for filing Form 5500-EZ until the extended due date of the employer’s federal income tax return, provided certain conditions are met. Please refer to the IRS Instructions for Form 5500-EZ (PDF) for details.
  • If I have more than one qualified retirement plan, do I need to file a Form 5500 for each plan?
    Yes, unless you are eligible to file Form 5500-EZ and the combined assets of all plans were $250,000 or less at the end of the plan year. If, however, you have more than $250,000 in plan assets, a separate Form 5500-SF or Form 5500-EZ should be filed for each plan.
  • What should I do if I need IRS/Department of Labor (DOL) 5500 forms?

    Order Form 5500-EZ online or contact the IRS at 800-TAX-FORM.

    You can find the Form 5500-EZ on the IRS website or contact the IRS at 800-TAX-FORM. Forms 5500-SF and 5500 are available and must be completed at the DOL EFAST2 web site.

  • Am I required to file if the plan was terminated during 2014?
    Yes, if you terminated your plan during 2014, a final Form 5500 is due after all assets under the plan have been distributed, even if you were never required to file before.
  • What is the date and opinion notification number of the latest Fidelity Defined Benefit Plan opinion letter?
    June 3, 2008, is the date of the latest IRS opinion letter—opinion/notification number K273943a—for the Fidelity Defined Benefit Plan.
  • Do I report my plan's assets on a cash basis or an accrual basis?
    Either method is acceptable, but you should be consistent from year to year. Your Annual Valuation Statement reports your plan's assets on a cash basis rather than an accrual basis. Please consult your tax advisor for guidance.
  • Do I report a deceased participant's plan assets on IRS/DOL Form 5500?
    A deceased participant’s assets must be reported as an asset of the plan until those assets are distributed from the plan to a beneficiary.
  • If I was required to file previously because the total of my plan assets was over $250,000, must I continue to file?
    For other than the final plan year, if you meet the conditions for filing Form 5500-EZ or Form 5500-SF, and you have one or more one-participant plans that had total assets of $250,000 or less at the end of that plan year, you no longer need to file. Please refer to the Instructions for Form 5500-EZ (PDF) or Instructions for Form 5500-SF (PDF) for more information.
  • What other Forms and Schedules might I need to file for my defined benefit plan?

    Please consult the Form 5500-EZ and Form 5500-SF Instructions for more details. Other forms may include:

    • Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits (formerly Schedule SSA (Form 5500). Note: Do not file with Form 5500-SF—file the statement separately with the IRS.
    • Schedule SB for single employer defined benefit plan actuarial information
    • Schedule MB for multiemployer defined benefit plans or for certain money purchase plan actuarial information
  • What other tax resources are available online?

    There are a number of resources available online at Fidelity.com and other websites.

Additional Information

Note to employers:

If you provided Fidelity with your employer (tax) identification number (EIN), then all of the plan's assets are included in one statement. Assets held outside a Fidelity Defined Benefit Plan account are not reflected in the Annual Valuation Statement and are not considered plan assets

Summary Annual Report — REMINDER: If you have participants other than yourself in your plan, you must also distribute a Summary Annual Report within nine months after the closing date of the plan year to all participants and to any beneficiaries who are receiving benefits. For a sample Summary Annual Report, call a Fidelity retirement representative at 800-544-5373.

Other online resources

For detailed Form 5500 information, visit efast.dol.gov for help from the Employee Benefits Security Administration. To view your Fidelity monthly/quarterly statements, confirmations, and tax forms including your Annual Valuation Statement online, go to your Statements/Reports (login required) page. For other resources, see the FAQ, What other tax resources are available online?

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Investment Earnings

Investment Earnings report total interest, dividends, and other related distributions received in 2014. Changes in account value due to other factors, such as market fluctuation, contributions, and distributions made by the plan, are not reflected.

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Distributions

Distributions report total distributions made by the plan during 2014, whether made directly to the participant (or beneficiary) or as direct rollovers to another plan.

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Cash Contributions

Cash contributions include only those contributions made to the plan during 2014.

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1a Name of plan

Enter the formal name of your company retirement plan.

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1b Three-digit plan number (PN)

Enter your plan number (for example, your first plan is 001, your second is 002, etc.). You, the employer, assign the plan number.

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1c Date plan first became effective

Enter the effective month, day, and year of the plan. The effective date is generally the first day of the plan year in which the plan was established. If the employer's business was not yet established on that date, the effective date will be the date on which the business was established.

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2a Employer's name and address

Enter the employer name and address.

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2b Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Enter your nine-digit Employer (Tax) Identification Number (EIN). If you do not have an EIN currently, please call the IRS at 800-829-4933 for information on how to obtain one. Enter the EIN on this form. Do not enter your Social Security Number (SSN).

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2c Employer's telephone number

Enter the employer's telephone number.

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2d Business code

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3a - 3c Plan administrator's name, address, EIN, and telephone number

Enter the plan administrator's name and address, etc. If the same as the employer's, enter "same," and leave blank the remainder of 3a, 3b, and 3c.

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4a-4b Name of trust and Trust's EIN (optional)

According to the IRS Instructions for Form 5500-EZ, "Although lines 4a and 4b are optional, the IRS encourages filers to provide [their] trust information on these lines."

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6a-6b Total number of participants

Note that Form 5500-EZ may only be used by one-participant plans that are required to file an annual return, and that are not eligible or choose not to file the annual return electronically on Form 5500-SF. See the 5500-EZ Instructions (PDF) for more information.

Count your spouse (and your partners' spouses) only if they work in the business.

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7 Total plan assets and liabilities & 8 Contributions received or receivable

Complete using your own records, your Fidelity account statements, and your Annual Valuation Statements as appropriate.

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7a Total plan assets

Total plan assets include rollovers and transfers from other plans, unrealized gains and losses such as appreciation/depreciation in assets. Your Fidelity Annual Valuation Statement reports your plan's assets on a cash basis rather than an accrual basis. You may use either method, but should be consistent from year to year. Please consult your tax advisor for guidance.

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7b Total plan liabilities

Plans using cash basis should have no liabilities. Do not include the value of future distributions that will be made to participants.

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8a and 8b Contributions received (or receivable if using accrual basis)

Include the total cash contributions received by the plan from the employer (line 8a).

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8c Contributions received or receivable from others

Enter the total of all other contributions, including transfers or rollovers received from other plans valued on the date of contribution.

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9 Enter the applicable two-character feature codes from p. 6 of the Form 5500-EZ Instructions

If you are filing this report for your Defined Benefit Plan, enter "1A" and "3D." Be sure to refer to p.8 of the Instructions for Form 5500-EZ (PDF) to determine what other codes may apply to your plan.

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Part V

Answer the questions and provide the dollar amounts, as appropriate. If you have a profit sharing plan, a money purchase plan, or a self-employed 401(k) plan, please refer to the Guide for Fidelity Small Business Retirement Plan Accounts .

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12 Is this a defined benefit plan subject to minimum funding requirements?

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1a Name of plan

Enter the formal name of your company retirement plan.

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1b Three-digit plan number (PN)

Enter your plan number (for example, your first plan is 001, your second is 002, etc.). You, the employer, assign the plan number.

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1c Effective date of plan

Enter the effective month, day, and year of the plan. The effective date is generally the first day of the plan year in which the plan was established. If the employer's business was not yet established on that date, the effective date will be the date on which the business was established.

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2a Plan sponsor’s name and address

The plan sponsor is the employer offering the plan. Do not enter a Fidelity entity, e.g., Fidelity Investments or Fidelity Management Trust Company. Enter the employer’s name and address.

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2b Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Enter your nine-digit Employer (Tax) Identification Number (EIN). If you do not have an EIN currently, please call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933 for a Form SS-4. Enter the EIN on this form. Do not enter your Social Security Number (SSN).

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2c Plan sponsor's telephone number

Enter the employer's telephone number

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2d Business code

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3a - 3c Plan administrator's name, address, EIN, and telephone number

Enter the plan administrator's name, address, etc. If they are the same as the employer's, enter "same," and leave blank the remainder of 3a, 3b, and 3c.

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5a-c Total number of participants

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6a & b Plan Eligibility

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7 Plan Assets and Liabilities & 8 Income, Expenses, and Transfers for this Plan Year.

Complete using your own records, your Fidelity account statements, and your Annual Valuation Statements as appropriate.

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7a Total plan assets at the beginning and end of the plan year

Your Fidelity Annual Valuation Statement reports your plan's assets on a cash basis rather than on a modified cash or accrual basis. You must use one method consistently. Please consult your tax advisor for guidance.

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7b Total plan liabilities at the beginning and end of the plan year.

Plans using cash basis should have no liabilities.

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8a Contributions received (or receivable if using accrual basis)

Include the total cash contributions received by the plan. Report employer contributions on 8a(1) and any other contributions (including rollovers from other plans) on 8a(3).

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8b Other income (loss)

Include investment earnings net gain or loss from the sale of assets, and other income, such as unrealized appreciation (depreciation) in plan assets. See the Form 5500-SF Instructions (PDF) for more details.

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8d Benefits paid

Provide distributions made to, or on behalf of, plan participants, including eligible rollover distributions.

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9a Pension benefits

If you are filing this report for your Fidelity Defined Benefit Plan, enter "1A" and "3D" along with any other appropriate plan characteristics codes for your plan. Refer to the Form 5500-SF Instructions (PDF), pp. 21-22, for complete instructions to determine what other codes may apply to your plan.

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9b Welfare benefits

Leave blank.

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Part V, Compliance Questions

According to the Form 5500-SF Instructions, one-participant plans should complete only question 10g.

If you have a multi-participant plan, please answer all of the Compliance Questions and provide the amounts for any of the questions that you have answered "Yes."

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11 Is this a defined benefit plan subject to minimum funding requirements?

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12 Is this a defined contribution plan subject to the minimum funding requirement?

For Fidelity Defined Benefit plans, answer "no."

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14a Name of trust and 14b Trust's EIN

According to the Form 5500-SF Instructions, "although Lines 14a and 14b are optional, the IRS encourages filers to provide [their] trust information on these lines."

*Assets held outside a Fidelity Retirement account are not reflected in the Annual Valuation Statement and are not considered plan assets.
Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general and educational in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to change, which can materially impact investment results. Fidelity cannot guarantee that the information herein is accurate, complete, or timely. Fidelity makes no warranties with regard to such information or results obtained by its use, and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, such information. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.
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