The GAO Would Like Greater Clarity for Pension Reporting and Disclosure (by Plan Sponsors AND the Government)
December 19, 2013
Authored by: benefitsbclp
On November 21, 2013, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report entitled “Clarity of Required Reports and Disclosures Could Be Improved,”addressing the resources currently allocated by Congress to the oversight of private sector pension plans under ERISA by the Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The report was commissioned to “look at how useful all the pension reporting and disclosure requirements are to sponsors, participants and government officials and determine whether there are ways to improve the system.” As plan sponsors know, participants are inundated with a deluge of disclosure requirements and there are multiple reporting requirements to various government agencies, both of which the GAO report essentially confirms.
Some of the more interesting observations of the GAO include:
- The GAO identified 70 different reports and 60 different disclosures arising from provisions of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.
- The GAO evaluated the DOL and other ERISA agencies online resources and found them to be “not clear, comprehensive or up-to-date.” Additionally, the GAO noted that the DOL’s guide listing required reports and disclosures had not been updated since October 2008 and did not include many of the IRS reports and disclosures and several of the reports and disclosures under the DOL’s and PBGC’s purview. The GAO also stated that neither the PBGC or IRS sites provide comprehensive information regarding reporting and disclosure requirements and noted that the PBGC site does not