The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Announcement 2011-21 officially designated Form 8955-SSA, which the IRS developed in coordination with the Social Security Administration (SSA), as the replacement for Schedule SSA to Form 5500, effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2009.
Section 6057(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) requires plan administrators to report certain information for each plan participant with a deferred vested benefit. This information was reported on Schedule SSA, an attachment to the Form 5500 (Annual Report/Report of Employee Benefit Plan). Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2009, the Department of Labor requires Forms 5500 to be filed electronically. As a result, Forms 5500 are publicly available online. Due to the personal nature of the information provided on Schedule SSA, the IRS removed Schedule SSA from the Form 5500 beginning with filings for the 2009 plan year.
Form 8955-SSA, which will be available “shortly” for the 2009 plan year and later this year for the 2010 plan year, is a stand-alone form that will be filed directly with the IRS for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2009. The information included in the form will not be publicly available. A voluntary electronic filing system for the form will be available.
Filing Deadlines for Form 8955-SSA
The filing deadline for Form 8955-SSA is the same as for Schedule SSA. Specifically, Form 8955-SSA must be filed by the last day of the seventh month following the last day of the plan year (plus any extensions). As with the Form 5500, extensions for filing Form 8859-SSA may be obtained by filing Form 5558, and an automatic extension may apply in certain circumstances. The Form 8955-SSA for both the 2009 and 2010 plan years, however, must be filed by the later of the normal due date for the 2010 plan year (i.e., for plans on a calendar year, July 31, 2011, plus any extensions) or August 1, 2011. Because the 2010 Form 8955-SSA may not be available in time for plan administrators filing ahead of the deadline, plan administrators may use the 2009 Form 8955-SSA for both the 2009 and 2010 plan years.
Some plan administrators have already submitted a Schedule SSA to the IRS for the 2009 plan year and/ or have already started completing the Schedule SSA for the 2009 or 2010 plan year. The IRS will treat a Schedule SSA for 2009 or 2010 that is filed with the IRS by April 20, 2011, as satisfying the reporting requirements under Code Section 6057 and no Form 8955-SSA need be filed for such plan year.