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DOL Requires Electronic Filing of Top Hat Plan Statements Starting August 2019

On June 17, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule, effective August 16, 2019, requiring “top hat” plan statements to be filed electronically.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), contains reporting and disclosure requirements applicable to plans covered by ERISA. For instance, sections 103 and 104 of ERISA establish requirements for the publication and filing of annual reports, while sections 102 and 104 of ERISA require plan administrators to furnish summary plan descriptions and summaries of material modifications or changes to participants and beneficiaries.

However, section 110(a) of ERISA and related regulations permit an alternative form of compliance with the reporting and disclosure obligations for unfunded or insured pension plans established for a select group of management or highly compensated employees, commonly called “top hat” plans. The alternative method of compliance requires filing a statement with the Secretary of the DOL that includes certain information listed in the regulations and by providing plan documents, if any, to the Secretary upon request.

On September 30, 2014, the DOL published a proposed rule that would revise the procedures for filing top hat plan statements (and also apprenticeship and training plan notices) to require electronic submission of these notices and statements. On the same date, the DOL also made available a new web-based filing system for these notices and statements.

The DOL has now finalized the rule to require electronic filing of top hat plan statements through the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) website. The final rule does not change the current content requirements.

Going forward, EBSA’s web-based filing system will be the exclusive method for filing these notices and statements; filings by mail or personal delivery will no longer be accepted. Upon submission of a completed filing, the new web-based filing system sends an electronic confirmation of receipt to the administrator. Filings are now available to the public on the Department’s website at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is for general informational purposes only. This post is not updated to account for changes in the law and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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