November 18, 2011

Be Thankful: You Still Have Time to Meet These Deadlines

As we wind down this year and prepare for a new one, we want to remind our clients of the following deadlines:

December 1, 2011. If your plan is a safe harbor 401(k) plan, has an automatic enrollment feature, or defaults participants who fail to direct the investment of their plan accounts to a qualified investment fund, you must remind plan participants how the feature affects their participation in the plan annually. If your plan has a calendar year plan year, you must provide the reminder notice by December 1 each year. You may be able to combine several notices into one and provide them at the same time.

December 31, 2011. If you maintain a qualified retirement plan with a calendar plan year and you've made design changes to the plan that took effect this year, you may need to adopt plan amendments reflecting these changes by December 31, 2011. In addition, if you allowed plan participants to make in-plan Roth rollovers last year or this year, or you suspended required minimum distributions from the plan in 2009, you must adopt plan amendments reflecting these actions by December 31, 2011.

January 1, 2012. Certain employers are required to report the cost of health coverage they provide to their employees in 2012 on the W-2s they furnish to their employees in January 2013. Although 2013 is a long time off, employers required to report should be sure the appropriate information is being captured by their payroll system. Before 2012, this reporting was optional for all employers and, at least through 2012, employers filing fewer than 250 W-2s are not required to report. Earlier this month, the IRS offered a webinar that explains employers' duty to report this cost on W-2s. To view this webinar, visit

January 17, 2012. If you file annual returns on Form 5500 or 5500-SF for your calendar year retirement plan with the Department of Labor electronically, and your plan has participants who terminated employment in 2009 or 2010 with deferred vested benefits, you may need to report these participants by filing a Form 8955-SSA on paper (or via a voluntary electronic delivery system) with the Internal Revenue Service by January 17, 2012. Prior to 2009, participants with deferred vested benefits were reported on old Schedule SSA and you attached old Schedule SSA to your Form 5500. Now, Schedule SSA is obsolete and has been replaced by Form 8955-SSA, and you may not file Form 8955-SSA as an attachment to your 5500 or 5500-SF. Be aware that the January 17, 2012, due date is a one-time due date. For 2011 and subsequent years, participants who terminate employment with deferred vested benefits must be reported on Form 8955-SSA by the due date for filing the Form 5500 or 5500-SF for that year.

January 31, 2012. If you maintain a qualified retirement plan on an individualized plan document (rather than on a prototype document), you file the annual returns for the plan on Form 5500 or 5500-SF, and your nine-digit federal identification number ends in "1" or "6," as a general rule you are a "Cycle A" filer and should submit your next application for a determination on the qualified status of your plan to the IRS by January 31, 2012. Special due dates apply to governmental, multiple employer, multi-employer and some controlled group plans maintained on individualized plan documents. Be aware that the IRS increased the old application fee of $1,000 to $2,500 earlier this year, and it applies to Cycle A filers. Because interested parties must be given advance notice of the filing of the application and plan documents must be completely restated before they are submitted, Cycle A filers should begin preparations for filing their applications soon.

If you have questions regarding these deadlines, please seek legal counsel.


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