U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 21, 2019

§ 2520.103-1 - Contents of the annual report.

(a) In general. The administrator of a plan required to file an annual report in accordance with section 104(a)(1) of the Act shall include with the annual report the information prescribed in paragraph (a)(1) of this section or in the simplified report, limited exemption or alternative method of compliance described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(1) The annual report shall contain the information prescribed in section 103 of the Act.

(2) Under the authority of subsections 104(a)(2), 104(a)(3) and 110 of the Act, and section 1103(b) of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, a simplified report, limited exemption or alternative method of compliance is prescribed for employee welfare and pension benefit plans, as applicable. A plan filing a simplified report or electing the limited exemption or alternative method of compliance shall file an annual report containing the information prescribed in paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) of this section, as applicable, and shall furnish a summary annual report as prescribed in § 2520.104b-10.

(b) Contents of the annual report for plans with 100 or more participants electing the limited exemption or alternative method of compliance. Except as provided in paragraph (d) and paragraph (f) of this section and in §§ 2520.103-2 and 2520.104-44, the annual report of an employee benefit plan covering 100 or more participants at the beginning of the plan year which elects the limited exemption or alternative method of compliance described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section shall include:

(1) A Form 5500 “Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan” and any statements or schedules required to be attached to the form, completed in accordance with the instructions for the form, including Schedule A (Insurance Information), Schedule SB (Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Information), Schedule MB (Multiemployer Defined Benefit Plan and Certain Money Purchase Plan Actuarial Information), Schedule C (Service Provider Information), Schedule D (DFE/Participating Plan Information), Schedule G (Financial Transaction Schedules), Schedule H (Financial Information), Schedule R (Retirement Plan Information), and other financial schedules described in Sec. 2520.103-10. See the instructions for this form.

(2) Separate financial statements (in addition to the information required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section), if such financial statements are prepared in order for the independent qualified public accountant to form the opinion required by section 103(a)(3)(A) of the Act and § 2520.103-1(b)(5). These statements shall include the following:

(i) A statement of assets and liabilities at current value presented in comparative form for the beginning and end of the year. The statement of plan assets and liabilities shall include the assets and liabilities required to be reported on the Form 5500; however, the assets and liabilities may be aggregated into categories in a manner other than that used on Form 5500.

(ii) Separate or combined statements of plan income and expenses and of changes in net assets which include the categories of income, expense, and changes in assets required to be reported on the Form 5500; however the income, expense, and changes in net assets may be aggregated into categories in a manner other than that used on Form 5500.

(3) Notes to the financial statements described in paragraph (b)(1) or (2) of this section which contain a description of the accounting principles and practices reflected in the financial statements and, if applicable, variances from generally accepted accounting principles; a description of the plan, including any significant changes in the plan made during the period and the impact of such changes on benefits; the funding policy (including policy with respect to prior service cost) and any changes in such policy from the prior year, a description of material lease commitments, other commitments, and contingent liabilities; a description of agreements and transactions with persons known to be parties in interest; a general description of priorities upon termination of the plan; information concerning whether or not a tax ruling or determination letter has been obtained; an explanation of the differences, if any, between the information contained in the separate financial statements and the assets, liabilities, income, expenses and changes in the net assets as required to be reported on the Form 5500, and any other matters necessary to fully and fairly present the financial condition of the plan.

(4) In the case of a plan, some or all of the assets of which are held in a pooled separate account maintained by an insurance company, or a common or collective trust maintained by a bank or similar institution, a copy of the annual statement of assets and liabilities of such account or trust for the fiscal year of the account or trust which ends with or within the plan year for which the annual report is made as required to be furnished to the administrator by such account or trust under § 2520.103-5(c). Although the statement of assets and liabilities referred to in § 2520.103-5(c) shall be considered part of the plan's annual report, such statement of assets and liabilities need not be filed with the plan's annual report. See §§ 2520.103-3 and 2520.103-4 for reporting requirements for plans some or all of the assets of which are held in a pooled separate account maintained by an insurance company, or a common or collective trust maintained by a bank or similar institution.

(5) A report of an independent qualified public accountant.

(i) Technical requirements. The accountant's report -

(A) Shall be dated;

(B) Shall be signed manually;

(C) Shall indicate the city and state where issued; and

(D) Shall identify without detailed enumeration the financial statements and schedules covered by the report.

(ii) Representations as to the audit. The accountant's report -

(A) Shall state whether the audit was made in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards; and

(B) Shall designate any auditing procedures deemed necessary by the accountant under the circumstances of the particular case which have been omitted, and the reasons for their omission. Authority for the omission of certain procedures which independent accountants might ordinarily employ in the course of an audit made for the purpose of expressing the opinions required by paragraph (b)(5)(iii) of this section is contained in §§ 2520.103-8 and 2520.103-12.

(iii) Opinion to be expressed. The accountant's report shall state clearly:

(A) The opinion of the accountant in respect of the financial statements and schedules covered by the report and the accounting principles and practices reflected therein; and

(B) The opinion of the accountant as to the consistency of the application of the accounting principles with the application of such principles in the preceding year or as to any changes in such principles which have a material effect on the financial statements.

(iv) Exceptions. Any matters to which the accountant takes exception shall be clearly identified, the exception thereto specifically and clearly stated, and, to the extent practicable, the effect of the matters to which the accountant takes exception on the related financial statements given. The matters to which the accountant takes exception shall be further identified as (A) those that are the result of DOL regulations, and (B) all others.

(c) Contents of the annual report for plans with fewer than 100 participants. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2), paragraph (d) and paragraph (f) of this section, and in §§ 2520.104-43, 2520.104a-6, and 2520.104-44, the annual report of an employee benefit plan that covers fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year shall include a Form 5500 “Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan” and any statements or schedules required to be attached to the form, completed in accordance with the instructions for the form, including Schedule A (Insurance Information), Schedule SB (Single Employer Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Information), Schedule MB (Multiemployer Defined Benefit Plan and Certain Money Purchase Plan Actuarial Information), Schedule D (DFE/Participating Plan Information), Schedule I (Financial Information - Small Plan), and Schedule R (Retirement Plan Information). See the instructions for this form.

(2)(i) The annual report of an employee benefit plan that covers fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year and that meets the conditions in paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section with respect to a plan year may, as an alternative to the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section, meet its annual reporting requirements by filing the Form 5500-SF “Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan” and any statements or schedules required to be attached to the form, including Schedule SB (Single Employer Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Information) and Schedule MB (Multiemployer Defined Benefit Plan and Certain Money Purchase Plan Actuarial Information), completed in accordance with the instructions for the form. See the instructions for this form.

(ii) A plan meets the conditions in this paragraph (c)(2)(ii) with respect to the year if the plan:

(A) Does not hold any employer securities at any time during the year;

(B) Satisfies the audit waiver conditions in §§ 2520.104-46(b)(1)(i)(A)(1), (b)(1)(i)(B) and (b)(1)(i)(C);

(C) Had at all times during the plan year 100 percent of the plan's assets held for investment purposes invested in assets that have a readily determinable fair market value. For purposes of this section, the following shall be treated as assets that have a readily determinable fair market value: Shares issued by an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940; investment and annuity contracts issued by any insurance company, qualified to do business under the laws of a State, that provides valuation information at least annually to the plan administrator; bank investment contracts issued by a bank or similar financial institution, as defined in § 2550.408b-4(c) of this chapter, that provides valuation information at least annually to the plan administrator; securities (except employer securities) traded on a public exchange; government securities issued by the United States or by a State; cash or cash equivalents held by a bank or similar financial institution, as defined in § 2550.408b-4(c) of this chapter, by an insurance company, qualified to do business under the law of a State, by an organization registered as a broker-dealer under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or by any other organization authorized to act as a trustee for individual retirement accounts under section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code; and any loan meeting the requirements of section 408(b)(1) of the Act and the regulations issued thereunder;

(D) Is not a multiemployer plan; and

(E) Is not a plan subject to the Form M-1 requirements under § 2520.101-2 (Filing by Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements and Certain Other Related Entities).

(d) Special rule. If a plan has between 80 and 120 participants (inclusive) as of the beginning of the plan year, the plan administrator may elect to file the same category of annual report (i.e., the annual report for plans with 100 or more participants under paragraph (b) of this section or the annual report for plans with fewer than 100 participants under paragraph (c) of this section) that was filed for the previous plan year.

(e) Plans which participate in a master trust. The plan administrator of a plan which participates in a master trust shall file an annual report on Form 5500 in accordance with the instructions for the form relating to master trusts and master trust investment accounts. For purposes of annual reporting, a master trust is a trust for which a regulated financial institution serves as trustee or custodian (regardless of whether such institution exercises discretionary authority or control respecting the management of assets held in the trust) and in which assets of more than one plan sponsored by a single employer or by a group of employers under common control are held. For purpose of this paragraph, a regulated financial institution is a bank, trust company, or similar financial institution regulated, supervised, and subject to periodic examination by a State or Federal agency. Common control is determined on the basis of all relevant facts and circumstances (whether or not such employers are incorporated).

(f) Plans subject to the Form M-1 filing requirements under § 2520.101-2. The annual report of an employee welfare benefit plan that is subject to the Form M-1 requirements under § 2520.101-2 (Filing by Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements and Certain Other Related Entities) during the plan year shall also include any statements or information required by the instructions to the Form 5500 relating to compliance with the Form M-1 filing requirements under § 2520.101-2.

(g) Electronic filing. See § 2520.104a-2 and the instructions for the Form 5500 “Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan” for electronic filing requirements. The plan administrator must maintain an original copy, with all required signatures, as part of the plan's records.

[43 FR 10140, Mar. 10, 1978, as amended at 45 FR 51446, Aug. 1, 1980; 46 FR 61079, Dec. 15, 1981; 51 FR 41288, Nov. 13, 1986; 54 FR 8627, Mar. 1, 1989; 65 FR 21080, Apr. 19, 2000; 71 FR 41368, July 21, 2006; 72 FR 64727, Nov. 16, 2007; 78 FR 13796, Mar. 1, 2013]