The IRS's Announcement 2011-21 (the "Announcement") designates Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits, as the form retirement plan sponsors must file with the IRS to satisfy the reporting requirement related to each plan participant with a deferred vested benefit in accordance with Treasury regulations. Previously, plan sponsors satisfied this reporting requirement by submitting Schedule SSA with the retirement plan's Form 5500 annual return/report. However, for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2009, plan sponsors must independently file the Form 8955-SSA with the IRS rather than submitting Schedule SSA with the retirement plan's Form 5500.
If a Plan sponsor must file Form 8955-SSA for a given year, the Form 8955-SSA must be filed by the last day of the seventh month following the last day of that plan year. For plans with a January 1 - December 31 plan year, the Form 8955-SSA would be due by July 31 of the following year. For the 2009 and 2010 plan years, the Form 8955-SSA is due by the later of the plan's 2010 plan year filing due date or August 1, 2011. Similar to Form 5500, plan sponsors may file for a one-time automatic extension of time to file the Form 8955-SSA. The IRS is currently revising the Form 5558, Application for Extension of Time to File Certain Employee Plan Returns, to enable filers to obtain extensions of time for Form 8955-SSA. Also, plan sponsors are granted an automatic extension of time to File 8955-SSA (without filing a Form 5558) until the due date of the employer's federal income tax return if certain conditions set forth in Part II of the General Instructions to Form 5558 are satisfied.
The Announcement states that the IRS will release the 2009 Form 8955-SSA shortly, and that the 2010 Form 8955-SSA will be released later this year. Upon the release of the 2009 Form 8955-SSA, the IRS will also release a voluntary electronic filing system for filing Form 8955-SSA. Since the 2010 Form 8955-SSA will not be released until later this year, plan sponsors may choose to use the 2009 Form 8955-SSA to complete a 2010 plan year filing.
The Announcement acknowledges that some plan sponsors have already submitted a Schedule SSA to the IRS for the 2009 plan year or may be in the process of completing Schedule SSA for the 2009 or 2010 plan years. In order to reduce the administrative burden on those plan sponsors, the IRS will treat a Schedule SSA filed with the IRS for the 2009 or 2010 plan years by April 20, 2011 as satisfying the reporting requirement. This means that if a plan sponsor files Schedule SSA for the 2009 or 2010 plan years on or prior to April 20, 2011, no additional action is required on the plan sponsor's part with respect to that year's reporting requirement.
Plan sponsors should review their retirement plan's recent Schedule SSA filings and determine if Form 8955-SSA needs to be filed with the IRS for the 2009 and/or 2010 plan years. If Form 8955-SSA needs to be filed for either the 2009 or 2010 plan years, upon the IRS's release of the 2009 and 2010 Forms 8955-SSA, plan sponsors should file (or, if applicable, coordinate with the plan's third-party administrator to file) Form 8955-SSA with the IRS within the time limits discussed above.