MLR

A Year In the Life of Managing a 401(k) Plan

By Kim Matus, Retirement Plan Associate

Qualified 401(k) plans have numerous mandatory tasks that must be performed during the plan year on a timely basis. This is one of the reasons it is important to choose vendors that are experienced and have the infrastructure to prevent any of these duties from slipping through the cracks. Below describes each necessary task in managing a 401(k) plan, based on a calendar year:

January
  • Send the Third-Party Administrator (TPA) a full-year census from the preceding year. Also complete the Annual Information Request packet for the TPA, to be used in annual compliance work.
  • January 31st is the deadline for issuing Form 1099Rs for the prior year.
February
  • Quarterly participant statements for the prior quarter are due no later than 45 days after the end of prior quarter.
March
  • Non-Safe Harbor plans have any ADP and/or ACP refunds, to affected Highly Compensated Employees processed by March 15th to avoid a 10% excise tax.
  • March 15th is the deadline for Partnerships, S-Corps, and LLCs to contribute employer money unless they have extended their tax returns.
April
  • Have any 402(g) excesses refunded to affected participants by April 15th.
  • Any delayed first-year Required Minimum Distributions must be issued by April 1st. April 15th is also the deadline for C-Corps to contribute employer money unless they have extended their tax returns.
May
  • Quarterly participant statements for the prior quarter are due no later than 45 days after the end of prior quarter.
June
  • EACA plans have any ADP and/or ACP refunds, to affected Highly Compensated Employees processed by June 30th to avoid a 10% excise tax.
July
  • Either file Form Series 5500 by July 31st or file Form 5558 “Extension of Time to File” by July 31st.
  • If the plan was amended in the prior year and no new SPD issued, the Summary of Material Modifications is due by July 29 (210 days after the last plan year-end).
  • If required, Form 5330 is due July 31st, but may be extended by filing Form 5558 “Extension of Time to File” by July 31st.
August
  • Quarterly participant statements for the prior quarter are due no later than 45 days after the end of prior quarter.
September
  • The deadline for Partnerships and S-Corps to file their tax returns is September 15th. This is also the deadline for S-Corps to make employer contributions for the prior year if they extended their tax returns.
  • The Summary Annual Report (SAR) must be distributed to participants by September 30th for plans that did not extend their Form Series 5500 filing.
October
  • The deadline for C-Corps to file their tax returns is October 15th. This is also the deadline for C-Corps to make employer contributions for the prior year if they extended their tax returns.
  • The deadline for filing the extended Form Series 5500 is October 15th.
November
  • Quarterly participant statements for the prior quarter are due no later than 45 days after the end of prior quarter.
December
  • Safe Harbor Match plans must distribute Safe Harbor notices by December 1st.
  • The SAR must be distributed by December 15th for plans that extended their Form Series 5500 filing.
  • The deadline for Auto-Enrollment notices and QDIA notices is December 15th.
  • The deadline to process any ADP and/or ACP refunds is December 31st.
  • Any Required Minimum Distributions must be issued by December 31st.
  • Any discretionary amendments to the plan document for the following plan year must be adopted by December 31st.
Annually
  • Plan Sponsors must provide a notice called a Participant Fee Disclosure or 404(a)(5) notice to participants. This should disclose any fees that will be paid by the plan including mutual fund expenses.

As a plan fiduciary, it is imperative to pick both a Third-Party Administrator and Recordkeeper that have proven results in timely taking care of all the above items, in order to keep your company’s 401(k) plan’s qualified status. If you should have any questions about how ML&R Wealth Management serves their clients in 401(k) plan management or could help your company’s plan, please contact them at 512-370-3252.

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