The IRS on Sept. 13 issued guidance on exceptions from the electronic filing requirements for certain filers of Forms 8955-SSA and 5500-EZ. The guidance comes in Revenue Procedure (Rev. Proc.) 2023-31.
Rev. Proc. 2023-31 supersedes Rev. Proc. 2015-47, 2015-39 IRB 419 regarding the following forms required to be filed for a plan year beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2024:
- Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits; and
- Form 5500-EZ, Annual Return of a One Participant (Owners/Partners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan or a Foreign Plan.
Rev. Proc. 2023-31 also addresses the availability of an administrative exemption from the requirement to file Form 8955-SSA electronically, and refers filers to applicable publications, forms, instructions, or other guidance, including postings on the IRS.gov website, for the procedures for claiming the administrative exemption.
The IRS on Sept. 14, 2015, issued procedures for a waiver from the requirement that Forms 8955 and 5500-EZ be filed electronically. IRS Revenue Procedure 2015-47 provides procedures for requesting a hardship waiver of the requirement to file these forms electronically; it sets forth how plans and plan administrators—and in some cases, employers—are to proceed if they are if they are unable to file those forms electronically.
That guidance said that the IRS would approve or deny a request for a waiver of the electronic filing requirement for Form 8955-SSA or Form 5500-EZ based on each filer’s particular facts and circumstances. In making that determination, the IRS would consider the filer’s ability to file the registration statement or return electronically on time without incurring an undue economic hardship in the process. Rev. Proc. 2015-47 also set procedures for requesting a waiver.
The Taxpayer First Act (TFA), enacted in 2019, amended Internal Revenue Code Section 6011 to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe regulations requiring a taxpayer that must file at least 10 returns during a calendar year to file Forms 8955-SSA and 5500-EZ electronically.
TD 9972—Electronic-Filing Requirements for Specified Returns and Other Documents, the TFA electronic filing regulations—was published in the Federal Register on Feb. 23, 2023. These regulations implement the 10-return mandatory electronic filing threshold regarding forms—including Forms 8955-SSA and 5500-EZ—that are required to be filed for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2024.
The TFA electronic filing regulations provide that a request for a waiver must be made in accordance with applicable IRS revenue procedures, publications, forms, instructions, or other guidance, including postings to the IRS.gov website. Under the TFA electronic filing regulations, the IRS Commissioner may grant hardship waivers of the requirement that Forms 8955- SSA and 5500-EZ be filed electronically.
What Rev. Proc. 2023-31 Does
As under Rev. Proc. 2015-47, the commissioner will not provide hardship waiver procedures for any electronic filing requirement for Forms 5500 and 5500-SF, which the DOL requires to be filed electronically through EFAST2.
Accordingly, the instructions provided in Rev. Proc. 2023-31 relating to requests for hardship waivers apply only to filings of Forms 8955-SSA and 5500-EZ.
Form 8955-SSA. For filings submitted concerning plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2024, the procedures for seeking an undue hardship waiver of, or administrative exemption from, the electronic filing requirements for Form 8955-SSA generally will be available in the instructions for that form or in applicable IRS publications, forms, or other guidance, including postings to the IRS.gov website.
Form 5500-EZ. For filings submitted concerning plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2024, the procedures for seeking an undue economic hardship waiver of the electronic filing requirements for Form 5500-EZ generally will be available in the instructions for that form or in applicable IRS publications, forms, or other guidance, including postings to the IRS.gov website.
Revenue Procedure (Rev. Proc.) 2023-31 is available here.