General Instructions

Purpose of Form

Form 5500-EZ is used by one-participant plans that are not subject to the requirements of section 104(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and that are not eligible or choose not to file Form 5500-SF electronically to satisfy certain annual reporting and filing obligations imposed by the Code. For 2013 filings, foreign pension plans that are required to file an annual return must file Form 5500-EZ.

Note.

A one-participant plan (as defined under Who Must File Form 5500-EZ) cannot file an annual return on Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, regardless of whether the plan was previously required to file an annual return on Form 5500. Therefore, every one-participant plan required to file an annual return must file paper Form 5500-EZ with the IRS or choose, if eligible, to electronically file Form 5500-SF using the EFAST2 Filing System.

Who Must File Form 5500-EZ

You must file Form 5500-EZ for a retirement plan if:

  1. The plan is a one-participant plan that is required to file an annual return and you are not eligible or choose not to file the annual return electronically on Form 5500-SF; or

  2. The plan is a foreign plan that is required to file an annual return.

    A one-participant plan means a retirement plan (that is, a defined benefit pension plan or a defined contribution profit-sharing or money purchase pension plan), other than an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which:

    1. covers only you (or you and your spouse) and you (or you and your spouse) own the entire business (which may be incorporated or unincorporated); or

    2. covers only one or more partners (or partners and their spouses) in a business partnership; and

    3. does not provide benefits for anyone except you (or you and your spouse) or one or more partners (or partners and their spouses).

A one-participant plan must file an annual return unless the plan meets the conditions for not filing under Who May Not Have To File Form 5500-EZ below.

A foreign plan means a pension plan that is maintained outside the United States primarily for nonresident aliens.

A foreign plan is required to file an annual return if the employer who maintains the plan is:

  • a domestic employer, or

  • a foreign employer with income derived from sources within the United States (including foreign subsidiaries of domestic employers) if contributions to the plan are deducted on its U.S. income tax return.

Do not file an annual return for a plan that is a qualified foreign plan within the meaning of section 404A(e) that does not qualify for the treatment provided in section 402(d).

Foreign plans (as defined above) are not eligible to file Form 5500 for 2013, regardless of whether the plan was previously required to file an annual return on Form 5500. Every foreign plan that is required to file an annual return must instead file paper Form 5500-EZ.

Note.

If you are not eligible to file the Form 5500-EZ for a plan that is subject to the reporting requirements in section 104 of ERISA, you must electronically file Form 5500 or, if eligible, Form 5500-SF.

Who Does Not Have To File Form 5500-EZ

You do not have to file Form 5500-EZ for the 2013 plan year for a one-participant plan if the total of the plan's assets and the assets of all other one-participant plans maintained by the employer at the end of the 2013 plan year does not exceed $250,000, unless 2013 is the final plan year of the plan. For more information on final plan years, see Final Return later.

Example.

If a plan meets all the requirements for filing Form 5500-EZ and its total assets (either alone or in combination with one or more one-participant plans maintained by the employer) exceed $250,000 at the end of the 2013 plan year, Form 5500-EZ must be filed for each of the employer's one-participant plans including those with less than $250,000 in assets for the 2013 plan year.

How To File Form 5500-EZ

Paper forms for filing.   The 2013 Form 5500-EZ may be filed on paper. File the official IRS printed Form 5500-EZ or the downloadable form found on the IRS website; or use approved software, if available.

  You can complete the online, fillable 2013 Form 5500-EZ found on the IRS website and download it to your computer to print and sign before mailing to the address specified in these instructions. See Where To File.

  You can obtain the official IRS printed 2013 Form 5500-EZ from the IRS to complete by hand with pen or typewriter using blue or black ink. Entries should not exceed the lines provided on the form. Abbreviate if necessary. Paper forms are available from the IRS as discussed earlier in How To Get Forms and Publications.

EFAST2 Filing System

One-participant plans may satisfy their filing obligation under the Code by filing Form 5500-SF electronically under EFAST2 in place of Form 5500-EZ (on paper), provided that the plan covered fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year. One-participant plans that covered 100 or more participants at the beginning of the plan year are not eligible to file Form 5500-SF, and must file Form 5500-EZ.

Eligible one-participant plans need complete only the following questions on the Form 5500-SF:

  • Part I, lines A, B, and C;

  • Part II, lines 1a–5b;

  • Part III, lines 7a–c, and lines 8a(1)–8a(3);

  • Part IV, line 9a;

  • Part V, line 10g; and

  • Part VI, lines 11–12e.

Under the computerized ERISA Filing Acceptance System (EFAST2), you must electronically file the 2013 Forms 5500 and 5500-SF using EFAST2's web-based filing system or you may file through an EFAST2-approved vendor. The 2013 Form 5500-EZ will be filed on paper and cannot be filed with this electronic system. For more information, see the EFAST2 website at www.efast.dol.gov. For telephone assistance, call the EFAST2 Help Line at 1-866-GO-EFAST (1-866-463-3278). The EFAST2 Help Line is available Monday through Friday.

Note.

Information filed on Form 5500-EZ and Form 5500-SF is required to be made available to the public. However, the information for a one-participant plan electronically filed using a Form 5500-SF with EFAST2 will not be subject to publication on the Internet.

What To File

Plans required to file an annual return for one-participant (owners and their spouses) retirement plans may file Form 5500-EZ in accordance with its instructions. Filers of Form 5500-EZ are not required to file schedules or attachments related to Form 5500 with the 2013 Form 5500-EZ. However, you must collect and retain for your records completed Schedule MB (Form 5500), Multiemployer Defined Benefit Plan and Certain Money Purchase Plan Actuarial Information, if applicable, and completed and signed Schedule SB (Form 5500), Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Information, if applicable. Even though you do not have to file the Schedule MB (Form 5500) or Schedule SB (Form 5500) with the 2013 Form 5500-EZ, you are still required to both perform an annual valuation and maintain the funding records associated with plan funding in the same manner as a plan for which the applicable schedule must be filed.

Eligible combined plans.    The Pension Protection Act of 2006 established rules for a new type of pension plan, an “eligible combined plan,” effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2009. An eligible combined plan consists of a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan that includes a qualified cash or deferred arrangement under section 401(k). The assets of the two plans are held in a single trust, but clearly identified and allocated between plans. The eligible combined plan design is available only to employers that:
  • employed an average of at least 2, but no more than 500, employees on business days during the calendar year prior to the establishment of the eligible combined plan, and

  • employ at least 2 employees on the first day of the plan year that the plan is established.

Because an eligible combined plan includes both a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan, the Form 5500-EZ filed for the plan must include all the information that would be required for either a defined benefit plan or a defined contribution plan.

Note.

The 2013 Schedule MB (Form 5500) and the 2013 Schedule SB (Form 5500) are available only electronically from the Department of Labor website at  
www.efast.dol.gov. You can complete the schedules online and print them out for your records. If you are a Form 5500-EZ filer, do not attempt to electronically file the Schedule MB or Schedule SB related to your 2013 Form 5500-EZ filing.

When To File

File the 2013 return for plan years that started in 2013. Form 5500-EZ must be filed by the last day of the 7th calendar month after the end of the plan year that began in 2013 (not to exceed 12 months in length).

Note.

If the filing due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the return may be filed on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

Where To File

File the Form 5500-EZ at the following address:

Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service 
Ogden, UT 84201-0020

Private delivery services (PDSs).   You can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to meet the “timely mailing as timely filing/paying” rule for tax returns and payments. The private delivery services include only the following:

  
  • DHL Express (DHL): DHL Same Day Service.

  • Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First.

  • United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.

  The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.

  Private delivery services should use the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
1973 Rulon White Blvd. 
Ogden, UT 84404

Who Must Sign

The plan administrator or employer (owner) must sign and date paper Form 5500-EZ for the 2013 filing.

Preparer Information (Optional)

You may optionally enter the preparer's name (including firm's name, if applicable), address, and telephone number in the space provided at the bottom of the second page of Form 5500-EZ. A preparer is any person who prepares an annual return/report for compensation, or who employs one or more persons to prepare for compensation. If the person who prepared the annual return/report is not the employer named in line 2a or the plan administrator named in line 3a, you may name the person on this line. If there are several people who prepare Form 5500-EZ, name the person who is primarily responsible for the preparation of the annual return.

Note.

Although the preparer's name, address, and phone number are optional, the IRS encourages filers to provide preparer information on these lines. Treasury regulations require all paid tax return preparers to obtain the Paid Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) and put the PTIN on all tax forms. However, the Form 5500 series, at this time, is not subject to the PTIN requirements of section 1.6109-2 of the Treasury regulations.

Penalties

The Internal Revenue Code imposes a penalty of $25 a day (up to $15,000) for not filing returns in connection with pension, profit-sharing, etc., plans by the required due date.


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