Instructions for Form 8955-SSA - Introductory Material


Section references are to the Internal Revenue Code, unless otherwise noted. ERISA refers to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

Purpose of Form

Form 8955-SSA, the designated successor to Schedule SSA (Form 5500), is used to satisfy the reporting requirements of section 6057(a). Form 8955-SSA is a stand-alone reporting form filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). See Where To File. Do not file Form 8955-SSA with the Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, or Form 5500-SF, Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan.

Use Form 8955-SSA to report information about separated participants with deferred vested benefits under the plan. Required information includes participants who have a deferred vested benefit under the plan and:

  • separated from service covered by the plan;

  • were reported as deferred vested participants on another plan's filing if their benefits were transferred (other than in a rollover) to the plan during the covered period;

  • previously were reported under the plan but have been paid out or are no longer entitled to those deferred vested benefits; or

  • previously were reported under the plan but whose information is being corrected.

The information reported on Forms 8955-SSA is generally given to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA provides the reported information to separated participants when they file for social security benefits.

Note.

The SSA no longer processes nonstandard pages 2. Report information about separated participants only on page 2 of Form 8955-SSA. If additional space is needed for separated participants, use additional pages 2 only. Do not add another page 1 of Form 8955-SSA, spreadsheets, or other nonstandard formats.

A Form 8955-SSA need not be filed for a year if no information is required to be provided for that year by these instructions.

The Form 8955-SSA may be filed electronically through the IRS Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system or on paper. For more information regarding electronic and paper filing, see How To File.

The IRS and SSA encourage all filers to file Form 8955-SSA electronically. Filing electronically saves time and effort and helps ensure accuracy.

Reporting requirement.   Under section 6057(b), plan administrators must notify the Secretary of the Treasury of certain changes to the plan and the plan administrator. These changes are reported on the plan’s Form 5500 annual return/report. Plan administrators should report these changes on the Form 5500 return/report for the plan year in which the change occurs as indicated in the Form 5500 instructions.

Telephone Assistance

If you have questions and need assistance completing this form, call the IRS Help Line at 1-877-829-5500 and follow the directions as prompted. This toll-free telephone service is available Monday through Friday.

How To Get Forms and Publications

Internet.   You can access the IRS website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at IRS.gov to:
  • Download forms, instructions, and publications;

  • Order IRS products online;

  • Research your tax questions online;

  • Search publications online by topic or keyword; and

  • Sign up to receive local and national tax news by email.

By phone and in person.   You can order forms and IRS publications by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). You can also get most forms and publications at your local IRS office.

Photographs of Missing Children

The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in instructions on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

General Instructions

Future developments.   The IRS has created a page on IRS.gov for information about Form 8955-SSA and its instructions, at www.irs.gov/form8955ssa. Information about any future developments affecting Form 8955-SSA (such as legislation enacted after we release it) will be posted on that page.

Who Must File

Plan administrators of plans subject to the vesting standards of section 203 of ERISA must file Form 8955-SSA. For example, the plan administrator of a section 403(b) plan that is subject to the vesting standards of section 203 of ERISA must file a Form 8955-SSA for the plan's deferred vested participants. A plan administrator is not required to report a separated participant if the participant's deferred vested benefits are attributable to an annuity contract or custodial account that is not required to be treated as part of the section 403(b) plan assets for purposes of the reporting requirements of ERISA Title I, as set forth in the Department of Labor (DOL) Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2009-02. For this exception to apply,

  1. The contract or account would have to have been issued to a current or former employee before January 1, 2009;

  2. The employer would have ceased having any obligation to make contributions (including employee salary reduction contributions), and in fact ceased making contributions to the contract or account before January 1, 2009;

  3. All the rights and benefits under the contract or account would be legally enforceable against the issuer or custodian by the participant without any involvement by the employer; and

  4. The participant would have to be fully vested in the contract or account.

For more information, please see DOL FAB 2009-02, www.dol.gov/ebsa.

Sponsors and administrators of government, church, and other plans that are not subject to the vesting standards of section 203 of ERISA (including plans that cover only owners and their spouses) may elect to file the Form 8955-SSA voluntarily. See the instructions for Part I, line A.

Note.

If the 2013 Form 5500 annual return/report is the final return/report of the plan, the Form 8955-SSA filed for the 2013 plan year must report information on deferred vested participants, including reporting that previously reported deferred vested participants are no longer deferred vested participants.

When To File

In general, if a Form 8955-SSA must be filed for a plan year, it must be filed by the last day of the seventh month following the last day of that plan year (plus extensions). This due date may be extended under some circumstances. See Extension of Time To File.

If the filing due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, Form 8955-SSA may be filed on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

Extension of Time To File

Using Form 5558

If filing under an extension of time based on the filing of Form 5558, Application for Extension of Time To File Certain Employee Plan Returns, check the appropriate box on the Form 8955-SSA, Part I, line C. A one-time extension of time to file the Form 8955-SSA (up to 2½ months) may be obtained by filing Form 5558 on or before the normal due date (not including any extensions) of the Form 8955-SSA. See the instructions for Form 5558. You must file the Form 5558 with the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Ogden, UT 84201-0045. Because approved copies of the Form 5558 will not be returned to the filer, you should retain a copy of the Form 5558 that is filed.

Using Extension of Time To File Federal Income Tax Return

An automatic extension of time to file Form 8955-SSA until the due date of the federal income tax return of the employer will be granted if both of the following conditions are met.

  1. The plan year and the employer's tax year are the same.

  2. The employer has been granted an extension of time to file its federal income tax return after the normal due date for filing the Form 8955-SSA.

An extension of time granted by using this automatic extension procedure CANNOT be extended further by filing a Form 5558. It also cannot be extended more than  
9½ months beyond the close of the plan year.

Other Extensions of Time To File

The IRS may from time to time announce special extensions of time under certain circumstances, such as extensions for presidentially-declared disasters or for service in, or in support of, the Armed Forces of the United States in a combat zone. See IRS.gov for announcements of special extensions. If you are relying on a special extension, check the box on line C and enter the exact language describing the announcement in the space provided. For example, indicate “Disaster Relief Extension” or “Combat Zone Extension.

Amended Registration Statement

File a 2013 Form 8955-SSA to correct errors and/or omissions in a previously filed statement for the 2013 plan year. Check the box for Part I, line B (“amended registration statement”). The amended Form 8955-SSA must conform to the requirements in the How To File section.

A full and complete Form 8955-SSA must be filed to correct any such errors and/or omissions. For example, a full and complete Form 8955-SSA must be filed if the plan administrator determines that incorrect information was provided for a single plan participant.

It is important to use a 2013 Form 8955-SSA to report revisions to a participant's information previously filed on a Form 8955-SSA or a Schedule SSA (Form 5500). Because SSA provides information that it has on file to individuals who file for benefits, if this information is not up-to-date, the individual may contact the plan administrator to resolve the difference.

Prior Year Statement

Although the Schedule SSA (Form 5500) was previously used to satisfy the reporting requirements of section 6057(a) for plan years prior to January 1, 2009, the Schedule SSA should no longer be filed under any circumstances. (See Announcement 2011-21, 2011-12 I.R.B. 567.) Instead, Form 8955-SSA should be filed for all plan years, including delinquent returns for plan years before 2009. If a paper 2013 Form 8955-SSA is used to satisfy filing obligations for plan years before 2009, complete Part I 'plan year beginning and plan year ending' dates for the appropriate plan year filed. Forms 8955-SSA for prior years should be sent to the same address as the 2013 Form 8955-SSA. See Where To File.

When To Report a Separated Participant

In general, for a plan to which only one employer contributes, a participant must be reported on Form 8955-SSA if:

  1. The participant separates from service covered by the plan in a plan year, and

  2. The participant is entitled to a deferred vested benefit under the plan.

In general, information on the deferred vested retirement benefit of a plan participant must be filed no later than on the Form 8955-SSA filed for the plan year following the plan year in which the participant separates from service covered by the plan. However, you can report a deferred vested participant on the Form 8955-SSA filed for the plan year in which the participant separates from service under the plan if you want to report earlier. Do not report a participant more than once unless you are revising or updating information on a prior Form 8955-SSA or Schedule SSA (Form 5500). See the Specific Instructions for Part III, line 9, codes B, C, or D.

For purposes of determining when to report a separated participant, a single employer plan is a plan to which only one employer contributes. A single employer plan includes a plan maintained by a controlled group of corporations which are treated as a single employer under section 414(b), and a plan maintained by trades or businesses under common control which are treated as a single employer under section 414(c).

In general, for a plan to which more than one employer contributes, a participant must be reported on Form 8955-SSA if:

  1. The participant incurs two successive one-year breaks in service (as defined in the plan for vesting purposes), and

  2. The participant is (or may be) entitled to a deferred vested benefit under the plan.

For these purposes, a multiemployer plan and a multiple-employer plan are treated as a plan to which more than one employer contributes.

In general, information about the deferred vested retirement benefit of a plan participant must be reported on the Form 8955-SSA filed for the plan year in which the participant completes the second of two consecutive one-year breaks in service. Consecutive one-year breaks in service are defined in the plan for vesting percentage purposes. The participant may be reported earlier on the Form 8955-SSA filed for the plan year in which the participant completed the first one-year break in service.

When Not To Report a Participant

A participant who has not been previously reported is not required to be reported on Form 8955-SSA if, before the date the Form 8955-SSA is required to be filed (including any extension of time for filing), the participant:

  1. Is paid some or all of the deferred vested retirement benefit (see the Caution below),

  2. Returns to service covered by the plan and/or accrues additional retirement benefits under the plan, or

  3. Forfeits all the deferred vested retirement benefit.

If payment of the deferred vested retirement benefit ceases before ALL of the participant's benefit is paid to the participant or beneficiary, information on the participant's remaining benefit shall be filed on the Form 8955-SSA filed for the plan year following the last plan year within which the payment ceased.

Transfer of a Participant's Benefit to the Plan of a New Employer

When the benefit of a separated participant with deferred vested benefits is transferred from one plan to the plan of a new employer,

  1. The new plan administrator should complete a Form 8955-SSA using:

    • Entry Code C for Part III, line 9, column (a), when the original plan information is available, or

    • Entry Code A for Part III, line 9, column (a), when the original plan information is not available.

  2. The original plan administrator should complete a Form 8955-SSA using Entry Code D for Part III, line 9, column (a).

Where To File

Send the completed Form 8955-SSA to:

Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service Center 
Ogden, UT 84201-0024

Private delivery services (PDSs).   In addition to the United States mail, you can use the private delivery services designated by the IRS to meet the “timely mailing as timely filing/paying” rule for tax returns and payments. These 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 send Form 8955-SSA to:

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

How To File

Follow the line-by-line instructions to complete the Form 8955-SSA. Answer all questions about the plan, unless otherwise specified.

The Form 8955-SSA must be filed with the IRS. The Form 8955-SSA and any attachments with the form are NOT open to public inspection. DO NOT attach a Form 8955-SSA (or a previous year's Schedule SSA (Form 5500)) to a Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF required to be filed with the Department of Labor (DOL) filing system (“EFAST2”). Because of privacy concerns, the inclusion of a social security number on the Form 5500, Form 5500-SF, or on a schedule or attachment that is filed with the DOL using EFAST2, may result in the return of the filing.

Electronic and paper filing.   You can:
  • Use SSA-approved software to complete and electronically file a Form 8955-SSA. For more information, go to IRS.gov, search for and select “Form 8955-SSA Resources” and then select “Approved Software Vendors Form 8955-SSA”.

  • Use a personal computer to complete the online fillable Form 8955-SSA on the IRS website at  
    www.irs.gov/formspubs before printing, signing, and mailing it to the IRS. A barcode capturing the data you entered on the form will appear on the completed pages when printed. A form partially completed online and partially completed (other than the signature) on printed paper will cause processing delays and may result in correspondence.

  • Use a printed Form 8955-SSA ordered from the IRS by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). When completing the form, use as many pages 2 of the Form 8955-SSA as necessary and number them in sequential order.

Note.

Remember to use additional pages 2 of the 2013 Form 8955-SSA only if additional pages are needed to add separated participants. Do not use nonstandard pages 2.

Processing tips.   To reduce the possibility of correspondence and penalties:
  • Sign and date the Form 8955-SSA.

  • Check your information to avoid errors.

  • Complete all applicable lines on the form unless otherwise specified.

  • All information should be printed in the specific fields provided on the form.

  • Do not mark on or near any barcode.

  • Paper should be clean without glue or other sticky substances.

  • Do not staple the form pages. Use binder clips or other fasteners that do not perforate the paper.

  • Do not submit extraneous material or information, such as arrows used to indicate where to sign, notes between preparers of the report, or notations on the form.

  • File the Form 8955-SSA using the address specified in the instructions under Where To File.

  • Use only whole dollars. Round off cents to whole dollars. Drop any amount less than 50 cents and increase any amount from 50 to 99 cents to the next higher dollar.

Penalties

The Internal Revenue Code imposes a penalty for failure to file a registration statement (including failure to include all required participants). The penalty is $1 for each participant not reported and for each day multiplied by the number of days the failure continues. The penalty, up to a maximum of $5,000, is imposed on the person failing to so file unless it is shown the failure is due to reasonable cause.

In the case of a failure to file a notification of a change in the status of the plan (such as a change in the plan name or a termination of the plan), or a change in the name or address of the plan administrator, the Code imposes a penalty of $1 for each day during which such failure occurs. The penalty, up to a maximum of $1,000, is imposed on the person failing to so file unless it is shown the failure is due to reasonable cause.

The Code requires that each plan administrator required to file a registration statement must, before the expiration of the time prescribed for the filing of the form, also furnish to each affected participant an individual statement setting forth the information required to be contained in the form. A penalty of $50 is imposed on the person required to furnish the statement to each affected participant for each willful failure to furnish the statement or a willful furnishing of a false statement.


More Online Instructions