(a) Electronic-filing requirements under section 6058. A return required under section 6058 with respect to an employee benefit plan must be filed electronically if the filer is required by the Internal Revenue Code or regulations to file at least 10 returns during the calendar year that includes the first day of the plan year. The Commissioner may direct the type of electronic filing and may also exempt certain returns from the electronic requirements of this section through revenue procedures, publications, forms, instructions, or other guidance, including postings on the IRS.gov website. Returns filed electronically must be made in accordance with the applicable revenue procedures, publications, forms, instructions, or other guidance.
(b) Undue hardship. The Commissioner may waive the requirements of this section in cases of undue economic hardship. One principal factor in determining hardship will be the amount, if any, by which the cost of filing the return electronically in accordance with this section exceeds the cost of filing the return on paper. A request for a waiver must be made in accordance with applicable IRS revenue procedures, publications, forms, instructions, or other guidance, including postings to the IRS.gov website. The waiver request will specify the type of filing (that is, a return required under section 6058) and the period to which it applies.
(c) Failure to file. If a filer required to file a return under section 6058 fails to file the return on magnetic media when required to do so by this section, the filer is deemed to have failed to file the return. See section 6652(e) for the amount imposed for the failure to file a return required under section 6058. In determining whether there is reasonable cause for failure to file the return, § 301.6652-3(b) and rules similar to the rules in § 301.6724-1(c)(3)(ii) (regarding undue economic hardship related to filing information returns on magnetic media) will apply.
(d) Meaning of terms. The following definitions apply for purposes of this section.
(1) Magnetic media or electronic form. The terms magnetic media or electronic form mean any media or form permitted under applicable regulations, revenue procedures, or publications. These generally include electronic filing, as well as magnetic tape, tape cartridge, diskette, and other media specifically permitted under the applicable regulations, procedures, publications, forms, instructions, or other guidance.
(3) Calculating the number of returns—(i) In general. For purposes of this section, a filer is required to file at least 10 returns if, during the calendar year that includes the first day of the plan year, the filer is required to file at least 10 returns of any type, including information returns (for example, Forms W-2 and Forms 1099), income tax returns, employment tax returns, and excise tax returns. See section 6011(e)(6), Application of numerical limitation to returns relating to deferred compensation plans.
(ii) Definition of filer. For purposes of this section, the term filer means the employer or employers maintaining the plan and the plan administrator within the meaning of section 414(g).
(iii) Special rules relating to calculating the number of returns. For purposes of applying paragraph (d)(3)(ii) of this section, the aggregation rules of section 414(b), (c), (m), and (o) will apply to a filer that is or includes an employer. Thus, for example, a filer that is a member of a controlled group of corporations within the meaning of section 414(b) must file the Form 5500 series electronically if the aggregate number of returns required to be filed by all members of the controlled group of corporations is at least 10 returns.
(e) Example. The following example illustrates the provisions of paragraph (d)(3) of this section:
(1) In 2024, Employer X (the plan sponsor and plan administrator of Plan A) is required to file 12 returns. The sole shareholder of X and his spouse are the only participants in Plan A. Employer X is required to file the following: one Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return; two Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement; one Form 940, Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return; four Forms 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return; one Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax; and two Forms 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions. Employer X is required to file one Form 5500-EZ. Plan A's plan year is the calendar year. Because Employer X is required to file at least 10 returns during the 2024 calendar year, the 2024 Form 5500-EZ must be filed electronically.
(f) Applicability date. This section is applicable for returns required to be filed under section 6058 for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2024.
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