The number of eligible participants at the beginning of the year will determine if your organization’s employee benefit plan requires an audit. An eligible participant is an employee who has met the qualification criteria outlined in the plan document. The employee does not have to be actively participating in the plan to be included in the participant count, rather just eligible to participate.
Employee benefit plans with fewer than 100 eligible participants at the beginning of the year meet the conditions for an audit waiver under 29 CFR 2520.104-46. However, what if your plan has more than 100 eligible participants? Generally, when a plan has more than 100 eligible participants, an audit is required; however, there are exceptions to this rule. If your plan is in its first year of inception, and there are more than 100 eligible participants, then an audit is required. However, if your plan has been in existence for at least one year and this is the first year that it exceeds 100 eligible participants, then an audit may not be required under the 80/120 rule. This rule can be complicated and is best explained by an example:
At the beginning of 2018, an employee benefit plan had 95 eligible participants; thus, an audit was not required for 2018. At the beginning of 2019, eligible participants increased to 110. Under the 80/120 rule, the plan can file as a small plan and is not subject to the audit requirement. Had the eligible participant count gone over 120, then an audit would have been required.
Rather than waiting until next year, review your eligible participant count now. If you think you need an audit, contact Yeo & Yeo today.