EBSA Seeks Extended Authority to Use Form 5500

By ASPPA Net Staff • May 12, 2015 • 0 Comments
The Form 5500 is part of the bread and butter of the federal government’s information gathering concerning employers and employee benefit plans. But authority to use it is not eternal. The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) has asked the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to extend for more three years authorization to gather information through the form.

EBSA on May 11 published an announcement that it has submitted to OMB an information request (ICR) entitled “Annual Information Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan,” for its review and approval of use of the form for another three years. OMB approval can only last for three years, and the current approval expires on May 31.

While the three-year approval period ends May 31, that doesn’t mean that suddenly it cannot be used. OMB will extend the approval on a month-to-month basis while it is reviewing EBSA’s request.

OMB will accept public comments through June 10. It is especially interested in comments that:

  • evaluate whether the extension is necessary for EBSA to properly perform its functions, including whether the information will have practical use;

  • evaluate the accuracy of EBSA’s estimate of the burden an extension may pose, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

  • enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and

  • minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Comments can be submitted in the following ways:

By mail or courier to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL–EBSA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503.

By fax to: (202) 395–5806.

By email to: OIRA_submission@omb.eop.gov.

The Form 5500 is the primary source of information concerning the operation, funding, assets and investments of pension and other employee benefit plans. In addition to being an important disclosure document for plan participants and beneficiaries. The form also is a compliance and research tool for the EBSA, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation the IRS. It is also a source of information other federal agencies, Congress and the private sector use in assessing employee benefit, tax, and economic trends and policies.