Important 401(k) Compliance Dates and Deadlines
Key 401(k) Compliance Dates
While many of these responsibilities are handled by Betterment, as a 401(k) plan sponsor it’s important that you are aware of important dates and deadlines associated with administering your plan.
DateResponsibilityPrevious Plan YearCurrent Plan YearJan 31BettermentIRS Forms 1099-R available to participants.Feb 10BettermentAnnual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax (Form 945) due.Mar 1ParticipantDeadline for employees who participated in multiple plans to notify sponsors of excess deferrals (402(g) excess).Mar 15BettermentDeadline for refunds to participants for failed ADP/ACP tests(s). Failure to meet this deadline could result in a 10% tax penalty for plan sponsors.Mar 15Plan SponsorEmployer contributions (e.g., profit sharing, match, safe harbor) due for deductibility for incorporated entities.¹ Failure to meet this deadline could preclude plan sponsor from tax deductibility.Deadline to establish plan for the prior tax yearApr 1Plan SponsorDeadline to confirm that Initial Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) were taken by participants who: turned 72 ² before previous year-end; are retired/terminated; and have a balanceApr 15 ³Plan SponsorEmployer contributions (e.g., profit sharing, match, safe harbor) due for deductibility for LLCs, LLPs, sole proprietorships (unincorporated entities).¹ Failure to meet this deadline could preclude plan sponsors from tax deductibility.Apr 15BettermentDeadline to complete corrective distributions for 402(g) excess deferrals.Jul 29 ⁴Plan SponsorDeadline to distribute Summary of Material Modifications (SMM) to participants (only if plan was amended).Jul 31 ³Betterment ⁴Deadline to electronically submit Form 5500 (and third-party audit if applicable) OR request an extension (Form 5558).Sep 30Plan SponsorDeadline to distribute Summary Annual Report (SAR) to participants and beneficiaries (unless Form 5500 extension filed; deadline to distribute will be December 15).Oct 1Plan SponsorDeadline to establish a new safe harbor match 401(k) plan.Oct 15 ³Plan SponsorDeadline to electronically submit Form 5500 and third-party audit, if applicable, if granted a Form 5558 extension.Dec 1Plan Sponsor (Notices prepared by Betterment)Deadline to distribute supplemental safe harbor notice to participants for safe harbor (“maybe”) plans. ⁵Dec 1Plan Sponsor (Notices prepared by Betterment)If applicable, distribute to participants for next plan year: Safe harbor notice, Qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) notice, Automatic enrollment noticeDec 1Plan Sponsor (Amendment drafted by Betterment)Deadline to execute amendment to make a traditional plan any type of safe harbor plan (match or nonelective).Deadline to execute amendment to make a traditional plan a safe harbor match plan for following plan yearDec 15Plan Sponsor (SAR prepared by Betterment)Deadline to distribute Summary Annual Report (SAR) to participants, if granted a Form 5558 extension.Dec 31Plan SponsorDeadline to make safe harbor and other fixed employer contributions.Deadline for Annual Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). ArtDec 31Plan SponsorDeadline to execute amendment to make traditional plan a 3% safe harbor nonelective plan for the current plan year
¹ Assumes calendar tax year. Additionally, if your company files a tax extension, you have until the extension deadline to fund the contributions.
² This was increased from 70½ in 2019 and earlier years.
³ Or first business day thereafter.
⁴ 210 days after the year end of the effective amended date, which is July 28 in leap years.
⁵ Safe harbor “maybe” Plans (specified in the plan document) are able to adopt a safe harbor nonelective plan 30 days before the end of the plan year. Please review your plan document to confirm if the plan has adopted such a provision.
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