The 4 Ws (of Census Collection)
Now that the busy holiday season is over, it’s time to focus on getting in shape – and that includes your retirement plan!
How does the census factor into your healthy retirement strategy? We’ve compiled the answers to the four most common census questions we receive below!
1. WHY IS THE CENSUS SO IMPORTANT?
Census data is vital to maintaining the qualified status of your plan.
Accurately completing census data each year allows your Compliance Consultant to properly determine employee eligibility for participation in the plan and participant eligibility for contribution allocations. This data also allows them to:
- Properly determine & update vesting
- Accurately monitor contribution limits
- Perform required discrimination & coverage testing
2. WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE CENSUS DATA?
Census data includes basic employee information, including but not limited to:
- Employee Name
- Date of birth
- Social security number
- Date of hire and if applicable: - Date of termination & rehire
- Annual compensation & hours of service
- Year-to-date salary deferrals
- Employer matching contributions
TriStar compares the census data with the W-3 to ensure there are no discrepancies in the numbers. This cross-comparison ensures all data provided is complete and accurate before moving forward with the testing process.
3. WHEN IS THE CENSUS DATA DUE?
Census data is due on two separate dates depending on the stipulations of your plan.
- January 31st - If you have a plan that requires early filing, early allocations, auditing, and/or ADP/ACP testing. - If you have a profit-sharing plan or other employer allocation which needs to be deposited on or before 03/15 or 04/15. - If you require assistance in the allocation of the annual Safe Harbor Contributions, additional Profit Sharing Contributions, or Discretionary Matching Contributions prior to 03/15 or 04/15.
- March 31st - If you have a plan that does not require assistance with allocation or calculation prior to March 15th or April 15th. - Your plan is a 401(k) Plan that has elected Safe Harbor status or does not require discrimination testing. - If you do not require allocation of Employer Contributions prior to March 15th or April 15th. - Your plan does not allow for 401(k) salary deferrals.
4. WHERE DO I SUBMIT CENSUS DATA?
TriStar has simplified the process of submitting census data for Plan Sponsors with their easy to use online Client Portal!
Have questions about your census questionnaire? Let's chat!
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The TriStar team is ready to help you begin your journey on the road to retirement. We will help you navigate the route for a smooth ride to and through retirement.