Does Guideline handle Form 5500 filings?
Updated over a week ago

Generally, all employers who sponsor a retirement plan qualified under the Internal Revenue Code, such as 401(k) and profit-sharing plans, must file Form 5500 each year.

Guideline includes the preparation and electronic filing of the Form 5500 at no added cost for all assets that reside within your Guideline plan. For example, if you started with Guideline this year, Guideline will not prepare or file your previous year’s Form 5500.

If you transferred your plan to Guideline earlier this year, and need to file your Form 5500 for the previous plan year, you should work with your prior administrator to file your form. Likewise, if you transferred your plan from Guideline to another service provider before the end of the filing year, you should work with your new provider to file your form.

Does Guideline handle Form 5500 audits for larger plans?

If you are a large plan filer (generally, 100 or more participants with a balance on the first day of the plan year), you must hire a third-party auditor to conduct the audit. Guideline is unable to arrange for the plan audit on your behalf.

While Guideline will work with your chosen auditor to provide all information we are able to, it will be your sole responsibility to contract and pay the auditor.

You can learn more about how to choose a plan auditor here.

When will Form 5500 be filed?

The Form 5500 is due on the last day of the seventh month after the end of the plan year. For calendar year plans, this is July 31.

For plans requiring a standard Form 5500 and audit, Guideline typically files an automatic extension until October 15 to ensure ample time for completing a plan audit.

Guideline will complete Form 5500 filing by the appropriate deadlines as long as any required information is provided to Guideline in a timely manner.

What will I need to do?

In most cases, Guideline will have adequate information about your plan to prepare and file the Form 5500 with little to no action on your part. However, you are responsible for providing any information requested by Guideline that we may need to prepare your Form 5500. This includes the name of your chosen auditor if you are a large plan filer.

Conversion plans

For plans that have transferred to Guideline from another provider, if Guideline has not received all the information from the prior provider during the conversion process, Guideline will request additional information through a task on your dashboard. This may include the “Trust Report” from the prior provider and/or completion of the Pre-Guideline Activity Task in your administrator dashboard.

Additionally, in order for Guideline to complete your Form 5500, all assets should be transferred to Guideline from your prior plan provider as soon as possible but no later than December 31 of the year you begin your plan with Guideline.

In the event assets are not received before December 31, your prior plan provider may need to handle your Form 5500 filing for the year.

If you transferred your plan to Guideline, you will need to maintain accurate and complete plan records to provide to Guideline for purposes of Form 5500 preparation.

Self-service plans

If Guideline is not the plan administrator (applicable to self-service plans), you will need to review and sign the Form 5500 before it can be submitted. Otherwise, Guideline can sign the Form 5500 on your behalf as the plan administrator. In some cases, even if Guideline is the plan administrator, we may send you a copy of the Form 5500 prior to filing for review. You may also be asked to review and certify the accuracy of the Form 5500 information prior to filing.

Learn more about Form 5500

For more information about filing, please see our Form 5500 guide and FAQ.

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