Mandatory Electronic Filing for Certain Form 8955-SSA and 5500-EZ Returns


On February 23, 2023, the Department of the Treasury published final regulations, “Electronic-Filing Requirements for Specified Returns and Other DocumentsPDF”, implementing the reduced mandatory electronic filing threshold under section 2301 of the Taxpayer First Act of 2019 (the “TFA”). Under the regulations, a filer who is required to file at least 10 returns with the IRS during the calendar year generally must file Form 8955-SSA and 5500-EZ return electronically for any plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2024. (See T.D. 9972PDF, final Regulations issued under IRC Sections 6057, 6058 and 6059).

For the 2022 and 2023 plan years, the mandatory electronic filing threshold for e-filing of the Form 5500-EZ or Form 8955-SSA remains 250 returns.

Electronic filing systems

Use the Department of Labor's EFAST2 (ERISA Filing Acceptance System) to electronically file:

  • Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, and
  • Form 5500-SF, Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan.
  • Form 5500-EZ, Annual Return of a One-Participant (Owners/Partners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan or a Foreign Plan

Use the IRS's FIRE (Filing Information Returns Electronically) to electronically file Form 8955-SSA. Effective for plan years beginning after 2019, electronic filing is available for Form 5500-EZ using the DOL EFAST2 filing system. Form 5500-SF is no longer used by a one-participant plan or a foreign plan. Information for a one-participant plan or a foreign plan filed electronically with the EFAST2 filing system will not be published on the internet.

Calculating the number of returns a filer is required to file 

When determining the 250-return (or 10-return) mandatory electronic filing threshold for Form 8955-SSA and Form 5500-EZ, you must aggregate all returns, including the following returns:

  • Information returns, for example, Forms W-2 and 1099-R, 
  • Income tax returns, 
  • Employment tax returns, and 
  • Excise tax returns.

Hardship waivers of the electronic filing requirement 

In exceptional cases, the IRS may grant hardship waivers of the electronic filing requirements for Forms 8955-SSA and 5500-EZ. The IRS does not grant electronic filing waivers for Forms 5500 and 5500-SF because taxpayers are already required to file these forms electronically through EFAST2 under a Department of Labor rule. 

For information on filing a request for a hardship waiver for the 2022 or 2023 plan years, see Revenue Procedure 2015-47 for more information. The IRS will generally grant a waiver if the filer can demonstrate that undue economic hardship would occur by complying with the electronic filing requirement, including a demonstration of any incremental costs the filer would incur in filing electronically rather than using a paper form.

  • A separate written request is needed for each plan.
  • The waiver request is due on or before the form’s due date (including any extensions), but filers are encouraged to submit at least 45 days before the due date to allow processing and to give the filer time to file electronically if the IRS denies the request.

On a year-by-year basis, the IRS may waive the requirement to file Form 8955-SSA and Form 5500-EZ electronically in cases of undue hardship. In certain circumstances, a Form 8955-SSA filer may be administratively exempt from the requirement to file electronically. If the IRS’s systems do not support electronic filing of the Form 8955-SSA, taxpayers will not be required to file electronically. In general, the filer should maintain documentation supporting the undue hardship or other applicable reason for not filing electronically.

For information on filing a request for a hardship waiver for the 2024 and later plan years, see the relevant form instructions, or other guidance, including postings to the website.

Form 5500-EZ Delinquent returns 

Form 5500-EZ late filers who want relief under the IRS Late Filer Penalty Relief Program must file paper Form 5500-EZ with the IRS. The delinquent Form 5500-EZ cannot be filed electronically through the EFAST2 System. See Revenue Procedure 2015-32  for more information.

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