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Section 6057(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Code") requires the reporting of certain information regarding plan participants who separate from service with deferred vested benefits. Until 2009, this reporting requirement was satisfied by filing the Schedule SSA as part of the plan's Annual Report on Form 5500.
Beginning with the 2009 plan years, Forms 5500 have been required to be filed electronically, under the Department of Labor (DOL) procedures known as EFAST 2, and are publicly available online. That electronic filing requirement, however, does not apply to the reporting required by Section 6057(a) of the Code, which includes personal information that is not suitable for disclosure, and Schedule SSA was eliminated from the Form 5500 package beginning with the 2009 Form.
In order to maintain compliance with Section 6057(a) of the Code, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration developed Form 8955-SSA, which is required to be filed directly with the IRS for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2009. The filing deadline is the same as the deadline that applies to the plan's Form 5500, i.e., the last day of the seventh month following the end of the plan year. As with Forms 5500, extensions may be obtained, if needed, by filing Form 5558, and an automatic extension may apply in certain circumstances.
Last summer, the IRS temporarily waived the requirement that Form 8955-SSA be filed for 2009, due to an inability to make the Form available on a timely basis. (See our previous Legal Alert "Form 5500 Schedule SSA Update" dated July 19, 2010 at http://www.fordharrison.com/shownews.aspx?Show=6384.) The IRS this week issued Announcement 2011-21, stating that the 2009 Form 8955-SSA will be available "shortly." The 2010 Form 8955-SSA is also being developed and will be available "later this year." However, the Announcement allows plan administrators to use a 2009 Form 8955-SSA to report 2010 information, if they are unable to wait for the release of the 2010 Form. The IRS has also announced a voluntary electronic filing system for filing Form 8955-SSA, which will be available to be used by the time the Forms become available. As for special due dates, the Announcement provides that the due date for filing both the 2009 and 2010 Form 8955-SSA is the later of (1) the "regular" due date for filing the Form 8955-SSA for the 2010 plan year (e.g., July 31, 2011 for a calendar-year plan, plus extensions), and (2) August 1, 2011. So under no circumstances will either of the returns be due before August 1 of this year.
If a plan administrator happens to have submitted an actual Schedule SSA to the IRS for the 2009 and/or 2010 plan year, or submits one not later than April 20, 2011, that filing will be accepted, and another Form 8955-SSA need not be filed. However, beginning April 21, Schedule SSA filings will no longer satisfy the Section 6057(a) requirement.
The Announcement can be found at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/a-11-21.pdf. If you have any questions about the Announcement, Form 8955-SSA or any other matter discussed above, you may contact the author of this Legal Alert, Jeffrey Ashendorf, email@example.com, any of the members of our Employee Benefits Practice Group or the Ford & Harrison attorney with whom you usually work.