Changes to Form 5500 Open Employers Up to Litigation & Participants May See Increase in Fees

December 6, 2016

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CONTACT:
Kelly Broadway, 202.627.1918, kbroadway@eric.org

For Immediate Release

Changes to Form 5500 Open Employers Up to Litigation & Participants May See Increase in Fees

ERIC Submits Comments on Schedule C, H, and J

Washington, DC  – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) submitted comments on the proposed amendments to the annual reporting and disclosure requirements for plan sponsors via Form 5500 to the Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

ERIC is the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policies at the federal, state, and local levels. Our members offer comprehensive health and retirement benefits; they would be unduly burdened –both administratively and financially –by the proposed reporting requirements, while the information collected would provide no real benefit.

In comments specifically relating to the new Schedule J health plan reporting, ERIC asked for the current proposal to be withdrawn, to wait for more certainty until the new Administration is in place, and if there must be changes, to take a less burdensome approach, including removing questions that would reveal confidential information.

“It is inappropriate to rush through such significant changes to reporting requirements while a new Administration is preparing to take over,” said James Gelfand, Senior Vice President of Health Policy, ERIC. “And, with much of the proposed Schedule J reporting being reliant upon provisions of the ACA, it would be prudent to delay making changes, since there is anticipation that the law may be drastically changed.”

ERIC also stated our concerns about how the information collected would be used, including using it against the companies to levy fines for minor paperwork errors.

In addition to submitting comments about Schedule J, ERIC, along with two other organizations, submitted comments on proposed changes to Form 5500’s Schedule C and Schedule H.

The proposed changes to Schedule C will require employers to invest in developing new systems to collect, process and verify information. ERIC and the organizations are concerned that employers will be forced to pass that increase in cost on to plan participants and that participants may actually see their fees increase.

ERIC and the organizations are also concerned that some of the proposed investment-related disclosures on Schedule H could signal to plan fiduciaries that they should include alternative investments or index funds in their plans, instead of providing a strategy they best see fit for their beneficiaries.

“ERIC and its members want consistency in reporting requirements. The proposed changes only add to the confusion,” said Will Hansen, Senior Vice President of Retirement Policy, ERIC. “The retirement system is already overregulated. These new requirements potentially open employers up to litigation, which will make managing the plans more burdensome and costly.”

To read ERIC’s comments on Schedule J, click here.

To read ERIC’s comments on Schedule C and H, click here.

About the ERISA Industry Committee
The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policies at the state, federal, and local levels. Learn more at eric.org.