Plan Administrator FAQs

Below you will find answers to our top Plan Administrator FAQs for active plans.

If you have questions while setting up your plan, the best place to go first is our Top FAQ in Onboarding article.

Navigating the Guideline Dashboard:

Educational videos are available in the Resource Library for each participant (and plan sponsor) to become familiar with the participant dashboard.   

How do I amend my plan?

Many plan provisions such as eligibility and employer matching contribution levels can be changed at any time by reaching out to our Plan Administrator Support team. 

What is a 5500?

The Form 5500 is an annual report of plan activity that is required to be filed with the IRS.

What is Compliance Testing?

Compliance testing refers to testing required by the IRS to ensure plans are offered to employees on a nondiscriminatory basis. Learn more about compliance testing here. Plans who exceed contribution limits based on such testing will need to refund participant contributions and/or make additional employer contributions. 

How do I contact Guideline?

See this article for our contact information and operating hours.

How and when can I change my payroll provider in Guideline?

To change your payroll provider, please visit the payroll tab on your Guideline administrator dashboard at least one week prior to running payroll with your new provider. Depending on which payroll provider you are moving to, we will send you instructions through the dashboard to make the payroll change process smooth for you.  Changing to or from an integrated payroll provider can change how your Guideline plan is managed. See this article to learn more about our payroll integrations.

What if contributions are missed during a payroll run?

In the event of operational errors such as missed or late contributions , there is IRS guidance for correcting these errors in the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System. See this article to learn more about correcting errors that are not “improper mistake of fact” requests.

How do we change company information or update administrators to the plan?

Visit the settings tab of your Guideline administrator dashboard to change your entity name, employer identification number, entity type, address, and phone number, or to update administrators to the plan. Name and EIN changes will require supporting documentation, as well as approval from the plan’s Trustee from  their Guideline Dashboard. 

What are the eligibility requirements for employees to participate in our plan?

With Guideline, plans must have an 18-21 age minimum requirement and a 0, 3, 6 or 12 month service requirement. Please note that for Guideline plans, all part-time, seasonal, intern, and full-time employees who meet these requirements are eligible to participate in the plan. See this article to learn more about eligibility requirements.

What is automatic enrollment and how does it work?

Automatic enrollment is a common 401(k) plan feature that helps individuals who take no action with regard to plan enrollment to save for retirement. Participants receive a notice of the automatic contribution arrangement prior to the plan start date or the date they are eligible.  Participants who do not enroll on their own or opt out of plan participation are automatically enrolled at the plan’s default contribution rate when they become eligible. All Guideline plans include an automatic enrollment feature.

Some Important Dates

As a plan sponsor, there are deadlines for reporting requirements, tax forms, and employee notices that must be met each year. The following are some important deadlines to be mindful of: 

Quarter 1

January 1 - Start of 401(k) Safe Harbor status for plans amending to Safe Harbor (Deadline to amend is November 30 of the previous year)

March 15 - ADP/ACP corrections deadline for ACA Plans

Quarter 2

April 15 - Tax filing deadline unless an extension is filed (10 business days before tax filing to elect profit sharing)

June 30 - ADP/ACP corrections deadline for EACA Plans 

Quarter 3 

July 31 - 5500 filing deadline unless an extension is filed

Quarter 4

October 1 - Deadline for new plans to elect 401(k) Safe Harbor status

October 15 - 5500 filing deadline with an extension

November 2 - Deadline to notify employees w/ Simple IRA plans

November 15 - Last day Guideline can accept new plan start dates for the following year

November 30 - Deadline to make Safe Harbor changes for existing plans for the upcoming year

December 15 - Deadline to make Top Heavy corrections 

December 31 - Deadline to change profit sharing formula and when compliance testing for the plan year is concluded


Learn more about other deadlines here.

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