PLAINVIEW, NY — All businesses with a pension plan and/or a 401k must file certain forms with the Department of Labor (DOL). However, as of January 1, 2010, the DOL is going "paper-less". For the 2009 Plan year, all forms must now be submitted to the DOL electronically. Recently, DOL announced that there would be no exceptions to this requirement, forcing business owners without email or who are unfamiliar with the Internet to get online or face a $15,000 penalty.

“Unfortunately, 20-28% of small businesses don't use email and may be forced to pay a $15,000 penalty," says Brett Goldstein, a Plainview, New York-based pension administrator and President of The Pension Department. "Small business owners who don't have email, high speed Internet connections, and older business owners are going to have a hard time trying comply with the DOL's mandate that everyone use the Internet to electronically file their forms."

Groups have approached the DOL seeking to clarify situations in which a tax preparer could electronically file the 5500 on behalf of the client. According to Goldstein, the DOL responded by saying that the ID and password given to employers so that they can electronic file the Form 5500, must be protected and not shared.

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