The Labor Department has some news about its Form 5500s: the bad news is that the forms won't be getting easier to file anytime soon, but the good news is that plan sponsors who have never filed might not be hit so hard with a delinquency charge.
Ian Dingwall, chief accountant at the Labor Department's Pension Welfare and Benefits Administration, said he is trying to reintroduce a compliance program that was developed for about nine months in 1992. During that time, 40,600 plan sponsors filed, and the department took in $40.6 million, Mr. Dingwall said.
Since the pilot program ended in December 1992, there hasn't been a way non-filers could fix their problem without accumulating huge delinquency fees.
For plan sponsors who have never filed, the Labor Department currently charges them $300 per day with an annual cap of $30,000. Not filing year after year can run up hefty tabs at the Labor Department.
"Sometimes the penalties get so large that people don't want to comply," Mr. Dingwall said. "We're really not after the money, just the filings."
Since the beginning of this year, the Labor Department has found 120 new non-filers.
The new program might be operating later this summer.
In addition, charges for the new grace period might be higher than the $1,000 each non-filer paid during the 1992 pilot program, and might be based on how long the plan sponsor did not file, Mr. Dingwall said.