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Spring Cleaning Series: Guide to Key Defined Contribution Plan Reporting and Disclosure Deadlines

Employee Benefits Law Alert Amy A. Ciepluch, Sarah J. Touzalin

This is the third in a series of “Spring Cleaning” alerts. As part of this series, we will provide you with various to-do items and tips in the employee benefits, employment, and immigration areas.

Do you know that there are more than 30 statements, notices, participant communications, and forms that a 401(k) or other defined contribution plan may be required to distribute or file in a given year? Now that Spring is in the air and the dust from all the first of the year benefit changes has settled, it is a good time to take a look at your plan’s compliance with key reporting and disclosure deadlines under the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA. The table below describes the deadlines for distributing required participant and beneficiary disclosures for defined contribution plans, as well as key IRS and DOL reporting deadlines (e.g., Form 5500 deadlines). The table also identifies the party that is typically responsible for each item. Of course, the responsible party will vary by company.

Use this table as a general guide to the key reporting and disclosure deadlines that may apply to your defined contribution plan. The table is limited to tax-qualified defined contribution plans, with an emphasis on 401(k) arrangements. Special reporting and disclosure rules may apply to plans sponsored by tax-exempt or governmental employers (i.e., 403(b) plans and 457(b) plans).

Key Defined Contribution Plan Reporting and Disclosure Deadlines for 2014
Deadline Reporting/
Disclosure
Description Responsible Party (varies by plan/company)
January 31 Form 1099-R to Participants Deadline to send Form 1099-R to participants who received distributions during the prior year. Typically handled by payer of distribution from the plan or recordkeeper
February 1 Determination Letter Submission Period Opens The Cycle "D" determination letter submission period for individually designed plans with EINs ending in 4 or 9 (and multiemployer plans) opens February 1, 2014 and ends January 31, 2015 Plan sponsor/benefits department
February 14 Quarterly Benefit Statements - Fourth Quarter of the Prior Year This is the deadline for quarterly benefit statements and statements of fees and expenses for the fourth quarter of the prior year (i.e., 45 days after the last day of the fourth quarter (December 31)).

Statements must be provided to participants (and certain beneficiaries) who have the right to direct investments.

Recordkeeper
February 28 Form 1099-R to IRS
(if not filed electronically)
This is the deadline to file Form 1099-R with the IRS to report distributions made in the previous year if filing paper copies. Typically handled by payer of distribution from the plan or recordkeeper

March 15

Corrective Distributions This is the deadline to process corrective distributions for a failed 2013 ADP/ACP in order to avoid the 10% excise tax.

A plan that satisfies the requirements of an Eligible Automatic Contribution Arrangement has until June 30 to process corrective distributions to avoid the 10% excise tax.

Typically handled by payer of distribution from the plan or recordkeeper
March 31 Form 1099-R to IRS
(if filed electronically)
This is the deadline to file Form 1099-R with the IRS to report distributions made in the previous year if filed electronically. Typically handled by payer of distribution from the plan or recordkeeper

April 1

Initial Required Minimum Distributions Initial required minimum distributions must commence by April 1 for participants who have reached their required beginning date. Typically handled by payer of distribution from the plan or recordkeeper
April 15 Distribute Excess Deferrals This is the deadline for distributing excess contributions that exceeded the Code Section 402(g) limit for 2013. Typically handled by payer of distribution from the plan or recordkeeper

May 15

Quarterly Benefit
Statements - First Quarter 2014
The quarterly benefit statement for the first quarter of 2014 is due by May 15 (i.e., 45 days after the last day of the first quarter (March 31)). Recordkeeper
July 29 Summary of Material
Modifications (“SMM”)
SMMs to participants and beneficiaries must be distributed within 210 days after the end of the plan year in which the modification is adopted (i.e., by July 29) (unless a revised SPD was already distributed containing the change). Benefits department/plan committee
July 31 Form 5500 or Form 5558 File Form 5500 (or Form 5500-SF) with the Department of Labor (“DOL”) by July 31 or file Form 5558 to obtain an automatic 2-1/2 month extension to October 15. Benefits department/plan committee
July 31 Form 8955-SSA or Form 5558 This is the deadline to file the 2013 Form 8955-SSA with the IRS or to file Form 5558 to obtain an automatic 2-1/2 month extension to October 15.

Form 8955-SSA is an annual registration statement that identifies separated participants with deferred vested benefits.

Benefits department/plan Committee
July 31 Notice to Terminated Vested Participants

Provide this notice to terminated vested participants who were reported on the 2013 Form 8955-SSA by the due date of the Form 8955-SSA (including extensions).

Typically handled by payer of distribution from the plan or recordkeeper
August 14 Quarterly Benefit Statements - Second Quarter 2014 The statement for the second quarter of 2014 is due by August 14 (i.e., 45 days after the last day of the second quarter (June 30)). Recordkeeper
August 30 (at least once every 12 months) Annual Fee Disclosure Notice Plans must disclose specified plan and investment-related information to participants and beneficiaries with an account balance and to eligible employees.

The due date for the initial annual fee disclosure notice was August 30, 2012. Subsequent annual participant fee disclosure notices are due at least once every 12 months after the initial disclosure. In 2013, plans were allowed to push what would have been an August 30, 2013 deadline to as late as February, 2014, and future disclosures must occur within 12 months of the "reset" date. If a plan didn't take advantage of the 2013 "reset" option, it could reset the 2014 distribution date to a date as late as 18 months from the date of the plan's 2013 disclosure.

Disclosure must also be made on or before the date a participant or beneficiary can first direct investments and annually thereafter. Notice of any change to plan-related information generally must be provided 30-90 days before the effective date of such change.

Recordkeeper/distributed by benefits department/plan committee
September 30 Summary Annual Report The Summary Annual Report is due 9 months after the end of the plan year unless a Form 5558 application for extension was filed for the Form 5500. Benefits department/plan committee
October 2 (earliest date) - December 2 (deadline) Safe Harbor Notice Plans using a safe harbor arrangement must provide an annual written notice of the safe harbor provisions. This notice must generally be provided to participants and eligible employees at least 30 days (but not more than 90 days) before the beginning of each plan year.

For employees entering the plan on a day other than the first day of the plan year (e.g., new employees) notice must be provided during the 90-day period ending on the date of entry. If the plan provides for immediate eligibility, notice is required as soon as possible after the employee’s eligibility date.

Benefits department/plan committee
October 2 (earliest date) - December 2 (deadline) Automatic Enrollment Notices Plans using an automatic contribution feature must provide annual automatic enrollment notices within this time period (this notice may be combined with the QDIA notice described below). Benefits department/plan committee
October 15 Form 5500 Due date for filing Form 5500 if deadline was extended by timely filing a Form 5558 application. Benefits department/plan committee
October 15 Form 8955-SSA Identifies separated participants with deferred vested benefits. File with the IRS by October 15 if a Form 5558 application for extension was filed by July 31. Benefits department/plan committee
October 15 Notice to Terminated Vested Participants If the deadline for filing Form 8955-SSA was extended to October 15, provide required notice to terminated vested participants by this date. Benefits department/plan committee
November 14 Quarterly Benefit Statements - Third Quarter The quarterly benefit statement for the third quarter of the current year is due by November 14 (i.e., 45 days after the last day of the third quarter (September 30)). Benefits department/plan committee
December 2 Qualified Default Investment
Alternative (“QDIA”) Notice
This is a notice distributed to participants or beneficiaries that generally describes the right to direct the investment of the funds in their accounts, how funds will be invested in the absence of direction, and the opportunity to invest outside of the QDIA.

The initial QDIA notice must be provided at least 30 days before the date of plan eligibility or first investment in the QDIA. Thereafter, distribute annually at least 30 days before the beginning of the plan year.

Benefits department/plan committee
December 15 Summary Annual Report This is the extended filing deadline if a Form 5558 application for extension was timely filed. Benefits department/plan committee
December 31 Deadline for Corrective Distributions or QNECs This is the deadline for processing corrective distributions for a failed 2013 ADP/ACP test (the 10% excise tax applies) or for correcting a failed 2013 ADP/ACP test with qualified nonelective contributions. Typically handled by payer of distribution from the plan or recordkeeper
December 31 Discretionary Plan Amendments This is the deadline for adopting discretionary plan amendments that are effective in 2014. Benefits department/plan committee
December 31 Required Minimum Distributions Deadline to make recurring age 70-1/2 required minimum distributions. Typically handled by payer of distribution from the plan or recordkeeper
Various Dates Form 5330 Employers must self-report to the IRS on Form 5330 prohibited transactions and other events that may result in an excise tax. Benefits department/plan committee
Various Dates Summary Plan Description
(“SPD”)
An SPD summarizing plan features and other information must be provided automatically within 90 days after an employee becomes eligible to make deferrals or 90 days after a beneficiary begins receiving payments.

An updated SPD must be provided every 5 years that incorporates all plan amendments made within the previous 5-year period. If no amendments have been made, a new SPD must be provided every 10 years. An SPD must also be provided within 30 days of a written request.

Benefits department/plan committee
Various Dates Blackout Notice If participants (and beneficiaries) are suspended for 3 or more consecutive business days from directing investments or obtaining loans, withdrawals, or distributions a notice must be provided at least 30 days (but no more than 60 days) in advance of the blackout period (certain exceptions apply). Benefits department/plan committee
Various Dates Rollover Notice (i.e., 402(f)
Notice)
Written notice of the right to elect a direct rollover and the tax consequences of receiving a distribution must be provided at least 30 days before distribution. Typically handled by payer of distribution from the plan or recordkeeper

Various Dates

Claims and Appeals Determinations A claim for benefits under the plan must be determined no later than 90 days after receipt of the claim. Notice of appeal decisions relating to a denied claim must be provided no later than 60 days after the appeal is filed. Benefits department/plan committee

For more information on key reporting and disclosure deadlines, please contact Amy Ciepluch at amy.ciepluch@quarles.com / (414) 277-5585, Sarah Touzalin at sarah.touzalin@quarles.com / (312) 715-5179, or your Quarles & Brady attorney.