ERISA-EBSA Announces Outreach And Compliance Assistance For 403(b) Plans

As a follow up to yesterday’s blog, on February 22, 2010 (also my birthday), the Employee Benefits Security Administration (the “EBSA”) issued a Press Release, announcing new outreach and compliance assistance efforts for 403(b) plans which are subject to ERISA.

According to the Press Release, the EBSA will be sending a letter to administrators of the approximately 16,000 403(b) plans subject to ERISA, to remind them that their 2009 Form 5500 annual reporting requirements have changed and to direct them to various EBSA resources for help in understanding and complying with the new requirements. The Press Relase reminds us that 403(b) plan administrators now must file basic financial and other compliance information annually with the government on a Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF. Large plans (generally those with 100 or more participants) must include a report of an independent qualified public accountant with their Form 5500. All Form 5500s beginning with the 2009 plan year must be filed electronically using the EBSA’s new EFAST2 system.

The ESBA’s outreach letter points out that the EBSA has also issued specific legal guidance and has several publications that are designed to explain the new annual reporting and electronic filing rules, such as Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2010-01(see yesterday’s blog) and a brochure entitled Getting Ready for Changes in Filing Your Plan’s Annual Return/Report Form 5500. These materials are available on a newly created EBSA web site at www.dol.gov/ebsa/403b.html.

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