Employers that are subject to ERISA must file an annual report (Form 5500) with the Department of Labor (DOL) for their employee benefit plans. The Form 5500 must be filed by the last day of the seventh month following the end of the plan year, unless the employer requests an extension.

Small welfare benefit plans that are unfunded or fully insured (or a combination of unfunded and insured) are exempt from the Form 5500 filing requirement. A small welfare benefit plan is one that has fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year.

A welfare benefit plan is unfunded if benefits are paid as needed directly from the general assets of the employer. Plans that use a trust or separately maintained fund to pay benefits are not considered unfunded. A plan is insured if benefits are paid through insurance policies. If premiums are paid by employees, the employer must forward the employee contributions no later than three months after receipt.

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