September/October deadlines you need to know

August 18, 2020

Fall is an especially busy time in the world of 401k plan administration. If you aren’t prepared for it, the sheer volume of work can take you by surprise. You’ll want to stay on top of several reporting requirements, tax forms, employee notices, and deadlines.

Here are the critical 401k plan administration deadlines in September and October, to help you plan ahead for a stress-free fall.

Sept. 1, 2020—Safe Harbor notices due (for new plans) 

If you’re starting a new Safe Harbor 401k plan, you must let your employees know at least 30 days before it launches. Note that you can do this even earlier, but not more than 90 days ahead of time.

Because September 1 is 30 days ahead of the October 1 deadline to start a new Safe Harbor plan, it’s the last day in 2020 that you’ll be able to deliver a notice.

If you’re not familiar with Safe Harbor, it’s essentially a status designation marking the most popular type of 401k plan due to its numerous benefits. Your plan must meet certain requirements in order to qualify.

September 15, 2020 (or October 15, 2020)—Form 5500 due to the IRS

Plan sponsors must file an annual Form 5500 to the IRS. This form includes important details about your business, 401k participants, and available retirement plans. 

The deadline for this filing gets a bit tricky, depending on your plan year and business type. In general, the Form 5500 must be filed by the last day of the seventh month after the end of your plan year. If you follow a calendar plan year, that means your initial deadline is July 31.

If you need more time, you can file for a 2½ month extension, which extends the deadline to October 15.

If your business is an S Corp, LLC, or Partnership, and you filed Form 7004 for an automatic extension on your company’s tax return, the deadline is actually September 15.

September 30, 2020—Summary Annual Report due

Mark your calendars for September 30. It’s a big deadline. The Summary Annual Report (or SAR) discloses the total value of your company’s 401k plan, as well as other details from your Form 5500.

The SAR must be distributed to plan participants within 9 months of the end of your plan year. It can take a while to compile, so be sure to plan ahead for the end of September so that you aren’t scrambling for the relevant information at the last moment.

October 1, 2020—Launch date for new Safe Harbor plans

If you don’t yet offer a Safe Harbor 401k plan but intend to add one, October 1 is the last day in 2020 that you can offer a brand new one. (If you’re upgrading an existing plan, the deadline isn’t until December 1.)

Worried about getting all your ducks in a row on time? We can help! Contact us today for more information and to schedule your virtual appointment with Cassell Plan Audits at 630.886.7669.

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