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IRS Issues Final Rules on 8955-SSA and 5500-EZ Filing

They’ve been a while in coming, but they are here: the IRS on Sept. 26 issued final regulations on electronic filing of Form 8955-SSA and Form 5500-EZ in certain circumstances. The IRS had issued the regs in proposed form in August 2013.

Under the final rule, contained in TD 9695, tax return filers that file at least 250 returns in a calendar year will be required to file Forms 5500 and other plan-related documents electronically or through other magnetic media the IRS specifies. This can apply when the plan sponsor is also the plan administrator and W-2s or 1099s cause the 250-return threshold to be reached.

The IRS made some modifications to the rules it proposed in NPRM 111837-13 based on comments it received concerning those proposed regs.

ASPPA in its comment letter had suggested the following:

1. Use of Existing FIRE System. The IRS should confirm that use of the Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system will satisfy the electronic filing requirement for the Form 8955-SSA through calendar year 2016.
2. FIRE System Improvements Needed. The IRS should make system enhancements that include an efficient batch submission feature for the FIRE system as well as a free interface for use by employers or other filers of the Form 8955-SSA, inasmuch as both features would facilitate electronic filing by all filers.
3. Application of Proposed Rules to Certain One-participant Plan Filers. The IRS should clarify how the proposed regulations interact with existing filing requirements of the Form 5500-EZ for certain “one-participant” plans.
4. Electronic Filing of the Form 5558. The IRS should make available an electronic filing option for the Form 5558 when used to extend the filing deadlines for the Form 5500 series and/or the Form 8955-SSA.

In the final regs, the IRS:

  • confirmed that the FIRE system is an acceptable way to file the Form 8955-SSA electronically,
  • said that it has referred comments regarding the need for FIRE system improvements to the appropriate IRS staff and
  • said it recognized that the Form 5500-EZ cannot be filed electronically and that filers that would file that form on paper may file the Form 5500-SF electronically instead.