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form 5500 - participant count


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Plan had 103 participants at 12/31/2019.    Eligibility is 1 year of service, for deferrals enter on 1/1 or 7/1 following meeting eligibility requirements.   Profit Sharing is one year and enter on 1/1 preceding meeting eligibility.    

My question is this.  at 12/31/2019 there were 103 participants.    as of 1/1/2020 there were 14 additional participants eligible for the deferral portion of the plan bringing the total to 117, still under 120 to require an audit.    BUT, there were 12 additional participants that became eligible for the profit sharing portion on 1/1/2020 as well but not eligible for the deferral part of the plan.   (So hired 2nd half of 2019.)     So counting them the total at beginning of year is 129 and would require an audit for 2020.   

I'm fairly certain those employees all have to be counted in the beginning of year count, but is there anyway not to count them since at 1/1/2020 they were technically not eligible yet and didn't become eligible till they had their 12 months of service for eligibility?   as an example, date of hire is 12/01/2019, had 1 year 12/01/2020, date of participation for p/s is 1/1/2020.   


Thanks for your response. 



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I seem to recall there was a thread dealing with this issue vis-a-vis pbgc premiums. I would have expected the pbgc to exclude these people because everything the pbgc does is essentially on a cash basis rather than accrual. For premium purposes anyway, they have historically wanted you to include only participants with accrued benefits. However, that thread indicated the opposite: that the PBGC would, if necessary, expect an amended filing once the final count was determined.

Translating the PBGC's expectation to the form 5500 has no specific merit, of course. But I have always taken the position that they would not be counted. Time will tell. I don't have any cases where this is an issue at the moment. I'd love it if you could find a citation one way or the other.

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