Prepare Your Payroll Records Before Your Next Benefit Plan Audit

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For companies providing benefit plans to over 100 eligible employees, this time of year usually means annual audit season is just around the corner. 

Undergoing a benefit plan audit can be a stressful time for any plan administrator — especially if you’re scrambling to compile the required documentation and meet deadlines. The best strategy for having a smooth and efficient audit process is preparing early, familiarizing yourself with the process, being aware of the timeline and keeping your documents updated and organized year-round.

Information to Prepare

As a plan administrator, you are responsible for coordinating all the data needed to complete the employee benefit plan audit timely. Gathering all the plan-related records before the auditors come knocking on your door can help make the process go much smoother. Make sure you have the following documents ready to go:

  • Extended plan document, including executed amendments.
  • Current year census with payroll, withholding and contribution data.
  • List of all parties in interest.
  • Loan documents for all participants.
  • Copies of prior years’ Form 5500 filed with the Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Copies of prior years’ audited financial statements.
  • Board minutes and/or 401(k) administrative committee minutes as it pertains to the plan.
  • Trust and record-keeping agreements with plan custodian and record keeper.
  • Copy of the plan’s fidelity bond insurance.
  • IRS determination or opinion.

Your payroll provider should be able to help gather your annual census data. If they are not able to, you may want to consider an alternative vendor.

What’s an Employee Benefit Plan Audit? 

An employee benefit plan audit reviews an organization’s plan(s) financial statements,  and reports its financial standing and general information. It can also highlight opportunities for improvement within plan operations, efficiency, controls and how well the plan complies with IRS and DOL regulations. 

Doeren Mayhew's experienced, independent employee benefit plan auditors can help you satisfy your Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) compliance needs.

When is a Plan Audit Due? 

This Form 5500 filing is due seven months after the plan year ends. If your plan year ends on Dec. 31, you must submit Form 5500 by July 31. You can request an extension if needed, making the new deadline Oct. 15.  

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE) Acts included changes to the Form 5500 series, so it’s important to work with your employee benefit plan provider and auditor to ensure your compliance.  

Start Preparing

Whether your employee benefit plan is about to be audited for the first time or you are a seasoned veteran, it’s never too early to start preparing your payroll documents for your next audit. 

Our payroll pros are here to help you with the payroll information you require. We can reduce your time spent on collecting the required records by automating your annual census data and employee benefit plan reporting needs. We capture payroll, employee deduction, 401(k) loan and company-match data in a user-friendly report formatted to your administrator’s standards with one quick hit of a button.

Being prepared for your 401(k) audit can help make the process fast and efficient, which helps to keep costs down. For more information on our 401(k) reporting services, or Doeren Mayhew’s employee benefit plan auditing services, our pros are here to help.

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