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Preparing Forms 5500, 5500-SF, and 5500-EZ: Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan

Note: CLE credit is not offered on this program

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Thursday, May 25, 2023

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This course will explain what plans are required to file Forms 5500, 5500-SF, and 5500-EZ, how to prepare these required information returns and related schedules, and the most recent changes to these forms.


Forms 5500, 5500-SF, and 5500-EZ satisfy the annual reporting requirements of the IRS, DOL, and PBGC. These series of forms provide these federal agencies with information about an employer's benefit plans. Form 5500 generally must be filed by large employer plans (those that cover 100 participants or more at the beginning of the year). Form 5500-SF may generally be filed by small employer plans (those that cover less than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year. Form 5500-EZ is generally filed for one-participant plans, which means the plan covers the owner (and spouse), one or more partners in a partnership, and does not provide benefits for anyone except an owner, spouse, or one or more partners.

Accurate reporting on these forms is important because the IRS and DOL monitor the forms and certain details may trigger an IRS audit or DOL investigation. Completing these forms completely and accurately, and filing these forms timely is extremely important. The SECURE Act increased the penalty for late filing a Form 5500.

  • The IRS penalty for late filing of a 5500-series return has increased 10-fold to $250 per day, up to a maximum of $150,000.
  • The DOL penalty for late filing can run up to $1,100 per day, with no maximum.

Tax advisers working with employers maintaining employer benefit plans must understand the due dates, filing requirements, and how to complete these returns properly.

Listen as our panel of employee benefit plan experts walks you through the preparation of Forms 5500 and related schedules, including tips for completing the form efficiently and avoiding potential audit triggers.



  1. Form 5500
  2. Filing requirements
  3. IRS and DOL scrutiny
  4. Completing the forms and related schedules
    1. 5500-EZ
    2. 5500-SF
    3. 5500
  5. Best practices


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Who is required to file Form 5500, 5500-SF, and 5500-EZ?
  • What disclosures on Form 5500 are highly scrutinized by the IRS or DOL?
  • What are the late filing penalties, and what late filing relief is available for the Form 5500 series?
  • What are the most recent changes to Form 5500, 5500-SF, and 5500-EZ?


Ciminera, Christopher
Christopher Ciminera, CPA, QKA

Principal, Accounting & Auditing
Belfint Lyons & Shuman

Mr. Ciminera is a member of the firm’s Employee Benefit Plan niche in the accounting and auditing services...  |  Read More

Schanzenbach, Jeanne
Jeanne Schanzenbach, QPA, CPC, ERPA

Retirement Plan Consultant
Limestone Pension Associates

Ms. Schanzenbach has over 25 years of experience working with plan sponsors in the design and administration of...  |  Read More

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