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Clarifications to Instructions for Lines 4l of Schedules H and I (Form 5500) and line 10f of Form 5500-SF

Lines 4l of Schedules H and I of the Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, and line 10f of Form 5500-SF, Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan, ask “Has the plan failed to provide any benefit when due under the plan?” This question was added to Schedules H and I of the Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF as part of the forms revisions effective for the 2009 plan year. The instructions did not include examples of what constituted a reportable failure to provide any benefit when due under the plan. The IRS clarified the instructions in connection with the 2015 and 2016 Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF to explain that a reportable failure included unpaid minimum required distributions to 5% owners who have attained 70½, and non-5% owners who have attained 70½ and have retired or separated from service. Based on comments received in response to a Paperwork Reduction Act notice regarding the 2016 Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF (see 81 FR 18887), the IRS announced that, in the absence of other guidance, filers do not need to report on Lines 4I of the Schedule H and I to the Form 5500 and 10f of the Form 5500-SF unpaid required minimum distribution (RMD) amounts for participants who have retired or separated from service, or their beneficiaries, who cannot be located after reasonable efforts or where the plan is in the process of engaging in such reasonable efforts at the end of the plan year reporting period.

The above-guidance is limited to completing the identified annual return/report line items. Plan administrators and employers should review their plan documents for written procedures on locating missing participants. Also, although the Department of Labor’s Field Assistance Bulletin 2014-01 is specifically applicable to terminated defined contribution plans, employers and plan administrators of ongoing plans may want to consider periodically using one or more of the search methods described in the FAB in connection with making reasonable efforts to locate RMD-eligible missing participants.

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