New Process Simplifies Form 5500 Filing
For many qualified retirement plans, compliance testing is already in the rear-view mirror. Right around the corner, however, lie other annual milestones: audits and Form 5500 filing.
Throughout 2012, you will likely continue to reap the benefits from a new process The Standard developed last year to simplify government report filing. As a result, you may have noticed an enhanced Auditor's Kit and Form 5500 improvements, including filing flexibility as well as a support team of technical experts.
If your plan must have an audit performed as part of Form 5500, The Standard offers a comprehensive Auditor's Kit that is designed to streamline the audit process and minimize its expense. If you provide us your audit date in advance, we can email the kit to you in time for the meeting.
The Auditor's Kit includes an electronic file containing the plan records that are routinely requested by auditors. It also includes a Deloitte & Touche audit, known as the SSAE-16 Soc1 report (formerly SAS-70), of The Standard's controls and procedures for handling clients' funds. The SSAE-16 Soc1 report allows your auditor to rely on the work of Deloitte in some areas, saving you time and money in preparing your plan audit.
For tips on how to prepare for your audit, see the Four Key Steps To Partnering With The Standard For Your Annual 5500 Audit (For Large Plan Filers) article.
The Standard will use your compliance testing results, plus the plan's financial records, to prepare and then electronically submit Form 5500 and related schedules on behalf of your plan. You may have already received a Form 5500 overview email from us outlining the form preparation process and requesting more information, such as confirmation of the scheduled date of your audit and the names of any new employees responsible for signing the Form 5500.
In this email, we provide an Online Access Form for granting auditors access to PlanNet where they can review plan- and participant-level information in completing their financial statements. We also include an Audit Summary Guide listing the reports that will be provided for the audit.
If you have not received the email, please watch for it.
After The Standard completes the Form 5500, we will email you a link to a secure website where you can complete the filing process by approving the document prior to the July 31 deadline. We can also file on your behalf if you sign a form included in the Form 5500 overview email. A team of Form 5500 technical experts at The Standard is primed to help you sign your reports and can be reached by calling 855.737.4571.
If for any reason you need an extension — for example, the plan's testing has not been completed or you need to gather information about outside assets — The Standard will automatically file for an extension on your behalf that moves your filing deadline to Oct. 15, 2012.
If you have questions or comments about the Auditor's Kit, Form 5500 or compliance testing, contact your account manager at The Standard.