Knowledge and Insights

Relief For Small Business Retirement Plan Filing Penalties


The Internal Revenue Service began a one-year pilot program last June to help small businesses with retirement plans that owe penalties for not filing reporting documents. By filing current and prior year forms during this pilot program, they can avoid penalties.

The IRS is reaching out to certain small businesses that maintain retirement plans and may have been unaware that they had a filing requirement. The IRS projects that this program will bring a significant number of small business owners into compliance with the reporting requirements.

Plan administrators and sponsors that do not file an annual Form 5500 series return can face stiff penalties – up to $15,000 per return. Those who have already been assessed a penalty for late filings are not eligible for this program. This program is open only to retirement plans generally maintained by certain small businesses, such as those in an owner-spouse arrangement or eligible partnership.

Multiple late retirement plan returns may be included in a single submission. If a retirement plan has delinquent returns for more than one plan year, penalty relief may be available for all of these returns. Similarly, delinquent returns for more than one plan may be included in a single, penalty-relief request. No filing fee will be charged during the pilot program.

We work with many businesses to ensure their retirement plans are in conformance with IRS rules. If you would like us to evaluate your retirement planning options, please contact us at (609) 689-9700.

The author of this article, Linda K. Soley, is a former employee of Mercadien.