401K Pension Plan Audits


How do you know if your company's 401(k) plan needs an audit?


Did you know the federal government mandates ERISA employee benefit plan audits?

Under the requirements of ERISA (Employment Retirement Income Security Act) Section 103, employee benefit plans with 100 or more participants are considered ‘large’ plans. These large plans must have an employee benefit plan audit performed by an independent certified public accountant. They also must file a Form 5500 annual report, a government form jointly developed by the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Plans with fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the year are considered ‘small’ plans and are eligible for the Small Pension Plan Audit Waiver. The Department of Labor (DOL) however has identified the range of 80 – 120 participants (this number is determined at the start of the plan year) as a grey area. In this grey area, a company has the option to continue as a ‘small’ plan or elect ‘large’ plan status. The choices for a plan falling into the 80 – 120 participant range are as follows:

Number of Participants at Beginning of Current Year Requirements Followed for the Previous Year Form 5500 Requirements to Be Followed for the Current Year Form 5500
80 – 99 (inclusive) Small plan Small plan
80 – 99 (inclusive) Large plan May elect to file Form 5500 again as a large plan or switch to a small plan
100 – 120 (inclusive) Small plan May elect to file Form 5500 again as a small plan or switch to a large plan
100 – 120 (inclusive) Large plan Large plan
More than 120 Large plan Large plan
More than 120 Small plan Large plan
Fiduciary Guide 2021

As a manager or executive, YOU are the fiduciary

Are you meeting the responsibilities to your plan and employees?

Our guide outlines what you need to do to meet your obligations such as:

  • Reviewing plan documents
  • What can happen with incorrect contributions
  • Understanding the plan fees

What should you expect to pay for a 401(k) plan audit?


LSL is proud to be a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Employee Benefit Audit Quality Center.

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Make sure your 401K audit is in the right hands

Meet Your Team


Our team has over 27 years’ experience in auditing 401k plans. Our combined knowledge and experience means you won’t need to re-educate our staff every year. Your audit will be handled smoothly and efficiently without overburdening your team.

Alternatives to CalSavers (Because You Don't HAVE to Use It)


The DEADLINE for companies with 5 or more employees is June 30, 2022.

You may think you have to choose CalSavers to meet the retirement plan mandate in California, but you can use other vehicles. We think CalSavers is less than ideal.

As long as you offer some retirement plan to your employees (that meets the state criteria), you are in compliance. For instance, you can offer a 401(k) or a SEP IRA and other variations on a theme in lieu of CalSavers. Some easy-to-use alternatives offer advantages to your employees and more tax benefits to you, the employer.