A new FAQ from the Internal Revenue Service addresses when a plan administrator may answer “yes” to Question 8 on the new Form 8955-SSA, affirming that the required information was timely furnished to participants.
Question 8 on Form 8955-SSA asks whether the plan administrator provided an individual statement to each participant required to receive a statement. The instructions to the form add that the plan administrator must, before the expiration of the time for the filing of the form, furnish to each affected participant a statement setting forth the information required to be contained in the form.
A plan administrator may answer “yes” to question 8 if the required information was furnished in a timely manner to participants in other documentation such as benefit statements or distribution forms. A separate statement designed specifically to satisfy this requirement is not required.
A plan administrator may answer “yes” to Question 8 if the statements or other documentation issued to the participants include the following information:
- Name of the plan
- Name and address of the plan administrator
- Name of the participant
- Nature, amount, and form of the deferred vested benefit to which such participant is entitled.
Thus, for purposes of completing Form 8955-SSA, the plan administrator’s notice to the plan participant does not need to include the participant’s social security number, the codes on page 2 of the Form 8955-SSA used to identify previously reported participants, or any information regarding any benefits which are non-forfeitable if the participant dies before a certain date.
The Form 8955-SSA was created because, as part of the redesign on the Form 5500 annual report several years ago, the requirement to report participants with deferred vested benefits on Form 5500 Schedule SSA was eliminated. However, the IRS still wants to gather information about participants who terminate with a deferred vested benefit. The first Form 8955-SSA filing, for the 2009 plan year, may be due as soon as January 17, 2012 (see (b)lines Ask the Experts – Who Is Responsible for Reporting Form 8955-SSA Data?).
More instructions from the IRS are available at http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=238959,00.html.
The new FAQ is available at http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=252298,00.html .