Compliance News | January 22, 2024

Need a Form 5500 Series Filing Extension? There Are Changes.

Plan sponsors that need additional time to file any of the Form 5500 (annual report) Series must file Form 5558, the request for an extension. Recently, the IRS announced changes in the use of Form 5558 and the filing method.

Additionally, although the IRS originally announced that plan sponsors would have the option to file the Form 5558 electronically starting on January 1, 2024, the IRS has postponed the electronic filing option for Form 5558 until January 1, 2025.

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Background on the current Form 5558 filing rules

Currently, Form 5558 may be used to obtain an automatic extension of the time to file one of the Form 5500 Series, including:

  • Form 5500 (the general annual return/report form for employee benefit plans)
  • Form 5500-SF (short form)
  • Form 5500-EZ (one-person and foreign plans)
  • Form 8955-SSA (extension form)

All but the Form 8955-SSA must be, or can be, filed using the DOL EFAST2 e-filing system.

In addition, currently, Form 5558 may be filed for an extension of IRS Form 5330, Return of Excise Taxes Related to Employee Benefit Plans.

Under current rules, the Form 5558 must be filed with the IRS. It cannot be filed with the DOL using EFAST2.

Filing rules effective January 1, 2024

The Form 5558 will continue to be the form used for extensions of time to file any of the Form 5500 Series of forms. Effective, January 1, 2024, plan sponsors will also be allowed to file one form for extension of Form 8955-SSA and Form 5500, Form 5500-SF or Form 5500-EZ. Form 5558 will continue to be filed in paper form with the IRS’s Ogden, Utah Service Center.

Also starting January 1, 2024, the Form 5558 will no longer be the form used for extensions of Form 5330. The filing for an extension of time to file a Form 5330 will have to be filed using Form 8868, Application for Extension of Time to File an Exempt Organization Return or Excise Taxes Related to Employee Benefit Plans.

Another filing option effective January 1, 2025

Starting January 1, 2025, for the first time, plan sponsors will have the option to file the Form 5558 electronically with the DOL, instead of the IRS, using EFAST2 in addition to being able to file on paper.


For some time, plan sponsors have been urging the IRS to allow for e-filing of the Form 5558 using the DOL’s EFAST2 system. Consequently, this change, which is now scheduled to be effective January 1, 2025, should be welcome news that will help simplify filing for extensions.

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This page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to discuss the issues raised here with your legal, tax and other advisors before determining how the issues apply to your specific situations.