I’m Late! I’m Late! For a Very Important (Form 5500) Date!

The DOL reports that over 200,000 filings are received per year.  In the most recent, complete year of filings, EBSA received about half of plan filings by the calendar plan-year deadline (July 31) and nearly 90% by the calendar plan-year extension deadline (October 15).  With half of businesses missing this deadline, their business can be put in a position where penalties may occur.  But what can be done so a business is never late for this important date?  Let’s take a look at the BASE® 5500 Solver and how it can be used to meet this annual deadline. 

What are the Form 5500 Series and schedules?

The Form 5500 Series is an important compliance, research, and disclosure tool for the Department of Labor (DOL).  The forms are part of ERISA’s overall reporting which assure that employee benefit plans are operated and managed in the way they were intended, including providing access to sufficient information to protect the rights and benefits of the covered participants under the employee benefit plans. 

Who is required to file?

Employers with 100 or more employees participating in any health and welfare benefit plans are required to file and helps them to easily prepare and file the 5500 Series forms and schedules electronically each year.  This comprehensive compliance solution generates custom compliant documents that are used to report important information regarding employee health and welfare benefit plans.

*Disclaimer – under certain circumstances, there may be a Form 5500 required for businesses under the 100-employee mark.  Always ask questions, do your research, and make sure your business is not late for filing the specific form.*

What is the deadline?

For health and welfare benefit plans that end with the calendar year, the Form 5500 is due by July 31 of the following year.

What are some reasons as to why businesses miss the filing?

Employers with employee retirement plans are very familiar with the Form 5500 filing requirement, while many employers are unaware that the Form 5500 filing requirement may also exist for their health and welfare plans.  Overall, there are 5 reasons as to why plan sponsors miss the filing of Form 5500 deadline:

  1. Ignoring emails from a service vendor
  2. Doesn’t start early enough to meet the deadline
  3. Starts, but stops because they aren’t sure how to fill out the forms
  4. Has their own plan and doesn’t know they need to file Form 5500
  5. Just good old breakdown of communication

What are the penalties?

If a business is late, and does not file before their designated deadline, they will be eligible for steep penalties.  The IRS penalty is $25 per day, up to a maximum of $15,000.  The IRS penalty for late filing of a 5500 series returned is $250 a day, up to a maximum penalty of $150,000 per plan year. 

What can a business do to avoid missing the deadline?

Get help from a third-party administrator, like BASE®, to eliminate the reasons as to why so many businesses miss the filing and, in result, receive penalties.  With BASE®, all Form 5500 Services, data and forms, will be electronically stored with a simple filing process that can help employers prepare and file electronically.  All workflow is tracked, including signature status, and tracking of submission to and the acceptance by the DOL, and all administrative procedures are handled by BASE®, helping plan sponsors have peace of mind. 

BASE® is helping business owners ensure they aren’t late for the very important Form 5500 filing date.  Contact BASE® for more information on the BASE® 5500 Solver at 888.386.9680 or visit www.BASEonline.com

4 Ways to Increase HSA Enrollment

Health Savings Accounts can be a powerful savings strategy for saving and paying for health care expenses and helping with retirement.  Even though HSAs are beneficial to both employer and employee, so many still do not understand the uses and the advantages to utilizing these health benefits.  Let BASE® show you 4 ways to increase enrollment!

The Health Savings Account (HSA) helps employees, enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan, save and pay for qualified health care expenses including copays, over-the-counter medications, dental, vision, and much more on a pre-tax basis, making the most of every health care dollar. 

The BASE® HSA is available to businesses of all sizes looking for a low-cost alternative to help keep premiums under control.  It also allows for the opportunity to save for the future, invest funds to build wealth, and to help employees diversify their retirement portfolios. 

BASE® has 4 ways to help increase HSA enrollment: 

  1. Spell Out the Savings. Literally, spell out “health savings account” instead of using the acronym “HSA.”  By doing so, it helps to communicate the fact that it is designed for SAVING.  So many still confuse HSAs with FSAs, which are Flexible SPENDING  FSA funds are meant to be spent within the plan year, while HSA funds can be rolled over, year to year, saved all the way into retirement.  Spelling out HSA can show its purpose – to save money – through lower premiums with High Deductible Health Plans, triple tax savings, and the opportunity for investing!  Spell it out to avoid confusion to educate employees and increase enrollment. 
  2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Keep talking about the benefits of the Health Savings Account all year round, not just during the open enrollment period.  When employers educate their employees on benefits like HSAs, their employees can feel better knowing what it is, how it will work for them, the money they can save, the confidence in enrolling, and can experience a 25% increase in enrollment. 
  3. Employer Contributions. Employers can further incentivize employees to open a Health Savings Account by offering to also contribute to their HSA.  According to Devenir’s Midyear HSA Research Report in 2020, employers contributed an average of $673 to their employees’ HSA.  When it comes to contributions, employer contributions make up 59% of the dollars in an employee’s HSA.  Offering a contribution to start an employee’s HSA is a great way to encourage those employees who are on the fence.  With employer contributions being tax deductible, it’s a win-win. 
  4. Offer a Benefits Debit Card. When employees pay for their health care expenses with their HSA funds, they are saving 15-25% since their funds are pre-tax.  When an employer offers a Benefits Debit Card, employees can use their HSA funds when they need them, swiping their card at an HSA-eligible location including the doctor’s office, pharmacy, or HSA-eligible online store.  By having a Benefits Debit Card attached to the HSA, it can help make the process of paying for qualifying health care expenses faster and easier. 

When an employer can help their employees understand what the HSA can do for them, communicate, educate, and offer ways to use their HSA to help them save and pay for health care expenses and save for retirement, they will see an increase in enrollment.  Contact BASE® at 888.386.9680 or visit www.BASEonline.com for more information on the BASE® HSA