episode 177 – what the heck is a retirement plan census? – Rea CPA

episode 177 – what the heck is a retirement plan census?

Rea’s go-to retirement plan consultant, Andrea McLane, is on unsuitable on Rea Radio to talk about proper filing and the importance of the retirement plan census.

Do you offer a retirement plan as part of your benefits package? Then you’re probably familiar with the census form… but do you know why this form is necessary? Andrea McLane, a senior manager and retirement plan consultant at Rea, joins unsuitable on Rea Radio to explain the retirement plan census, while passing along some best practices that will keep you from getting lost in the paperwork. Andrea chose a great week to join the show too, because she can help us all celebrate National Employee Benefits Day, which just happens to be April 2 this year!

What Is This Census Data Form And Who Needs To Fill It Out?

Businesses (or a firm they outsource accounting duties to) should be sending census data forms to their employees every year, in order to do testing and calculate employee contributions to retirement plans. A lot of people think they only need to get this information from people participating in a retirement plan, but you need that data for every person who receives a W2.

If you are a business owner or an employee with retirement benefits, you will be interested in these other topics discussed in this episode:

  • How to get your census done quickly and effectively.
  • Why you ALWAYS need to double check that what you withhold from payroll (and what happens if errors go unfixed).
  • Why you need to update beneficiary forms and keep them in a safe place.


articles & insights

And The Times, They Are A-Changing – Associate Retirement Plans could be formed by employers within a geographic region, such as a city, country, state or metropolitan area. Keep reading to learn more about this possible expansion.

It’s Not Your Job, But Somebody Has To Do It – Under Section 107 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the party responsible for filing plan reports must “maintain records to provide sufficient detail to verify, explain, clarify and check for accuracy and completeness.” Additionally, under Section 209, employers must maintain employee records “sufficient to determine the benefits due or which may become due to such employees.”

401(k) and Retirement Plan Limits for Tax Year 2019 – Offering retirement and health savings plans is a smart choice for a business to attract and retain talent. Taking advantage of such plans is an even smarter choice for employees as these plans are not only a convenient way to save for the future but allow substantial tax savings today.

How Long Do I Have To Keep This? – Tired of collecting paper? As a retirement plan sponsor, you have certain record retention responsibilities under ERISA. Find out what those are and whether you can start throwing things our or converting them to digital files.

IRA Beneficiaries Vs. Designated Beneficiaries – Unfortunately, a will could be lost or obsolete as people don’t always keep on top of updating their wills. This could mean that the IRA may not be distributed as hoped. It is much easier, and better in the long run, to name the IRA beneficiary on the IRA beneficiary form to avoid all of these issues. These are simple forms that can be updated at any time. Read on to learn more!

official transcript

Click here to read the official transcript for episode 177, “What the Heck is a Retirement Plan Census?”