In 2007, the Department of Labor (DOL) published rules requiring plans subject to the annual reporting requirements of Title I of ERISA to electronically file the Form 5500 annual report. The DOL electronic filing requirement became effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2009, but did not apply to the Schedule SSA, an attachment used by plan administrators to comply with the deferred vested benefit reporting requirements. In order to accommodate the DOL’s mandate for electronic filing of the Form 5500 annual report, a number of changes were made to the Form 5500 series and accompanying schedules and attachments. One of the changes was the removal of Schedule SSA from the Form 5500 annual report beginning with filings covering a plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2009.
IRS Announcement 2011-21
On March 3, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Announcement 2011-21 (published in I.R.B. 2011-12 (dated March 21, 2011)) designating Form 8955-SSA as the form to be used to satisfy the reporting requirements for terminated participants with vested benefits. Schedule SSA, an attachment to the Form 5500 annual report, had been the form used by plan administrators to report separated participants with deferred vested benefits prior to the designation of Form 8955-SSA.
IRS Announcement 2011-21 (the “Announcement”) clarifies that Form 8955-SSA, a stand-alone form to be filed with the IRS, is the successor to the Schedule SSA for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2009. The 2009 Form 8955-SSA is now available for filing by plan administrators. The 2010 Form 8955-SSA is being developed and is expected to be available for filing later this year. In the interim, plan administrators can report information that would otherwise be required to be reported on the 2010 Form 8955-SSA using the 2009 Form 8955-SSA. IRS Revenue Procedure 2011-31 provides instructions for filing Form 8955-SSA. The Form 8955- SSA can be filed by paper or electronically. The IRS has developed a voluntary electronic filing system for filing Form 8955-SSA for the 2009 plan year and subsequent plan years.
In the June 21, 2011 issue of Employee Plan News, the IRS announced its intention to extend the filing due date for the 2009 and 2010 Form 8895-SSA . In order to provide plan administrators additional time to complete and file the new Form 8955-SSA, the IRS has extended the filing due date for the 2009 and 2010 Form 8955-SSA to the later of January 17, 2012 or the due date that generally applies for filing the Form 8955-SSA for 2010.
No Form 5558 extensions will be granted for the January 17, 2012 due date. For 2011 and thereafter, the Form 8955-SSA must be filed by the last day of the seventh month following the last day of the plan year (including extensions). For example, for calendar year plans, a 2011 Form 8955-SSA must be filed with the IRS by July 31, 2012 (or October 15, 2012 if an extension is granted).
The IRS has indicated that employers may prepare one Form 8895-SSA that includes both 2009 and 2010 reportable employees. If an employer files one Form 8895-SSA for 2009 and 2010, the 2010 reportable employees are treated as reported in 2009. However, there is no requirement to file Form 8895-SSA for a year in which there are no employees to report. The IRS also clarified that filers of Form 8895-SSA are not required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) but will need a Transmitter Control Code (TCC) which the IRS will issue upon filing a Form 4419 (Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically) (Retirement Plan Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Form 8955-SSA).
The Announcement clarified that a Schedule SSA filed with the IRS for the 2009 or 2010 plan year no later than April 20, 2011 would be treated as satisfying the reporting requirements of Schedule 8955-SSA. Consequently, no Form 8955-SSA was required to be filed for the 2009 or 2010 plan year if a Schedule SSA for the applicable plan year was filed with the IRS by that date.