Annual reports filed by pension plan sponsors might be available sooner, thanks to a proposal by the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration that would require employers to file their annual Form 5500 reports electronically, starting in 2008.
The proposal, which was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 30, is open for public comments until Oct. 31.
"By using a modern, electronic filing-based system, we will reduce the burden on filers while improving both the accuracy and timeliness of the reports," said Ann L. Combs, assistant Labor secretary who heads the EBSA.
"Because this information is a critical source of plan information, we want to make sure the reporting process is both cost-effective and efficient," she said.
The ERISA Advisory Council and the Government Accountability Office had both recommended electronic filing.
In anticipation of the rule kicking in, the Labor Department, as well as the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., will propose revisions to improve the information on the forms in 2007.