How do I read my Form 5500-SF?

A guide to reviewing your Form 5500-SF, Short Form Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan


Part I Annual Report Identification Information

 A   All Guideline Plans will have “a single-employer plan” selected

B

  • The “first return/report” will be selected for a new plan.
  • The final return/report will be selected if the plan has terminated and has distributed all assets. 
  • An amended return/report will be selected if changes are being made to a prior filing.
  • A short plan year return/report will be selected if the plan was effective for only a portion of the year.
  • A filing can have a combination of these elections.

C

  • Form 5558 will be selected if we filed an extension for your filing. Your filing is due July 31 without extension and October 15 with extension.
  • DFVC program will be selected if your filing was submitted past the due date and is being filed with the correction program.


Part II Basic Plan Information

1    

 a  

Name of the retirement plan

b

Plan number

c

Effective date of the retirement plan

 2  

a

Current sponsor name (legal entity name) & address

b

Current EIN

c

Current phone number


d

North American Industry Classification Systems (NAICS) code (acceptable codes listed in the General Instructions for 5500-SF)

3

a

Guideline’s name & address

b

Guideline’s EIN

c

Guideline’s phone number

4

a

Sponsor name reported on the prior filing, if it has since changed

b

Sponsor EIN reported on the prior filing, if it has since changed

c

Plan name reported on the prior filing, if it has since changed

d

Plan number reported on the prior filing, if it has since changed

5

a

Count of employees who were eligible on the first day of the plan year in addition to terminated participants with a balance

b

Count of employees who were eligible on the last day of the plan year in addition to terminated participants with a balance

c

Count of participants with a balance, including dismissed participants, at the end of the plan year

d1

Count of eligible employees regardless if they are actively contributing at the beginning of the plan year

d2

Count of eligible employees regardless if they are actively contributing at the end of the plan year

e

Count of participants who were terminated in the plan year and were not 100% vested

6

a

  • If your plan was administered by Guideline during the entire plan year, this answer will always be yes.
  • If your plan was administered by another provider during the plan year, the investments from your prior provider must be “eligible plan assets.” These are  assets that have an easily determinable fair market value, are not employer securities and are held or issued by a regulated financial institution. If your prior plan had any investments that were not “eligible plan assets” the answer to 6a should be no, and you will not be eligible to file the 5500-SF and will need to file a standard Form 5500. 

b

If your Guideline plan qualifies to file a short form, this answer will always be yes. 

c

This field is blank as Guideline plans are defined contribution plans.



Additional details regarding financial reporting below:

  • Guideline files on a cash basis. This means that we report transactions in the year they settled. For example, if a contribution was made for the 12/31 payroll, but it settled in the following year, Guideline will report that transaction in the following year’s Form 5500. 
  • This may lead to a discrepancy between the plan reporting in your dashboard and what is reflected on the form 5500. 

Part III Financial Information

 7    

a

Total assets in the plan at the beginning & end of the plan year including outstanding loan balances

b

This value will be zero if the plan was with Guideline the entire year.

c

Net assets (subtract 7b from 7a) at the beginning & end of the plan year. Note: 7a, 7b, and 7c must be the same as reported for the end of the prior plan year, if applicable.

8

a(1)

Employer contributions for the plan year

a(2)

Participant contributions for the plan year

a(3)

Employee rollovers from other qualified retirement plans during the plan year

b

Net sum of all dividends, gains/losses (realized and unrealized), interest, and loan interest in the plan year

c

Sum of lines 8a & 8b

d

Sum of all distributions in the plan year.

e

Sum of all ADP/ACP refunds, 402(g) refunds, and deemed or defaulted loans

f

Fees paid to service providers using plan assets. Includes but is not limited to participant fees, distribution fees, loan fees, & commissions. 

g

Other expenses paid using plan assets

h

Sum of 8d, 8e, 8f, and 8g

i

Subtract line 8h from line 8c

j

Plan to plan transfers to or from the plan. This does not include your conversion to Guideline.



Part IV Plan Characteristics

9  

 a 

List of codes applicable to your plan. Details found in General Instructions for 5500-SF

b

Will be empty, as Guideline plans are not welfare benefit plans.



Part V Compliance Questions

 10    

 a  

Will be marked yes if at any time during the current plan year employee deferrals and or loan payments were not deposited within 7 business days after the pay date. 

This may also be marked yes if the plan had late deposits from a previous plan year that have not been fully corrected or were corrected in the current plan year.  

The total of all late deposits will be listed in the amount column. 

Please note that for the period of time your plan was with Guideline during the current plan year we have reviewed your payroll files to find any late deposits and have worked to get these corrected. If your plan was with Guideline for the entire plan year, you do not need to take any action. 

For more information on the late payroll deposits you can find a report in your Resource Library with the pay dates affecting this value for the 2019 year.

b

This will be marked no if the plan has been with Guideline for the entire plan year.

c

This will be yes with a $190,000,000 bond that Guideline provides.

d

This will be marked no if the plan has been with Guideline for the entire plan year.

e

This will  be marked no if the plan has been with Guideline for the entire plan year.

f

This will be marked yes if RMD amounts were not paid out in time. Amount will be provided.

g

This will be marked yes if there were loans in the plan year as well as the outstanding loan amount  at the end of the plan year.

h

If the plan required a blackout period due to a conversion, this will be marked yes.

i

If 10h was answered Yes, 10i must be answered. 

  • Answer Yes: If the blackout period notice was provided between 30 and 60 days in advance of the blackout period  
  • Answer No: If the blackout period notice was not provided, or was provided outside the 30-60 day window in advance of the blackout period  


Part VI Pension Funding Compliance

 11  

 a  

This will always be marked no for a Guideline plan.

b

This will be null for a Guideline plan. 

12

 

This will always be marked no for a Guideline plan.



Part VII Plan Terminations and Transfers of Assets

 13  

a

Will be marked yes if the plan has signed a resolution to terminate the plan

This will be $0 for a Guideline plan

b

Marked yes if all assets were distributed to participants or beneficiaries, transferred to another plan, or brought under the control of the PBGC

c(1)

If assets were transferred from one plan to another (this does not include a deconversion to a different provider for the same plan) the new plan name will be provided here.

Typically applies to spin-offs, mergers, and transfers to an MEP plan.

c(2)

EIN of the plan assets were transferred to

c(3)

Plan Number for the plan assets were transferred to

 

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