The end of the year is a critical time for annual testing and reporting. Complete employee data must be collected in order to perform the numerous administrative tasks required of a qualified plan. Proper preparation, along with accurate information, are the most effective tools for the smooth operation of a retirement plan.

Year-end data is used to determine eligibility, calculate and allocate contributions, perform compliance testing, update participant vesting and prepare Form 5500 for filing with the Employee Benefits Security Administration. Accurate census information is critical to performing these administrative functions. In general, the census consists of the names, compensation, relevant dates (hire, birth, termination, rehire) and the number of hours worked by all employees who were employed during any portion of the year — not just those actively participating in the plan.

Before you complete the year-end data collection, make sure to review our checklist, which provides useful tips and information regarding everything you’ll need to verify to complete the process:

  • Verify that you have the entire plan year’s payroll information for every employee that received W-2 compensation, regardless of current employment status or plan eligibility. (Tip: Cross-checking your compensation figures with the W-3 form totals is a great way to confirm that you are not missing compensation amounts or employees.)
  • Verify that you have the company ownership information available, including other businesses and trusts that the company may own.
  • Provide all family relationships between owners and employees.
  • Is your plan a controlled group or affiliated service group? If so, verify that you have employee census and ownership information for each company.
  • If a contribution was made by the company during the plan year, verify that you know the amounts given to each employee and the formula used to determine those amounts.
  • Verify that you have the plan’s fidelity bond coverage available, including the amount.

To download our Year-end Data Collection Checklist   CLICK HERE

Need Help?

As the Plan Sponsor, you are responsible for completing the Year End Data Collection process to prepare for the upcoming year, which includes answering some company and plan questions along with providing census data such as; employee name, date of birth, social security number, date of hire, date of termination, date of rehire, annual compensation, deferrals, etc. This information is required for TRA to prepare the necessary year end compliance work for your retirement plan.

Please contact your CRM if you have any additional questions.