What is a Summary Annual Report (SAR)?
A summary annual report (SAR) is a document required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that summarizes the information reported on the Form 5500 filing series and schedules. The SAR must be distributed to each plan participant and their beneficiaries receiving benefits under the plan no later than two months following the Form 5500 filing deadline, which is September 30th for a calendar-year plan. If a 5500 filing extension (Form 5558) has been filed, the SAR distribution deadline is extended to December 15th.
The SAR provides participants with a summary of the plan's financial status as reported on the Form 5500 filing. Participants are also informed of their right to receive a copy of the Form 5500 filing if requested from the employer.
The required content for SARs is set out by the DOL.
Who should receive a copy of the Summary Annual Report (SAR)?
Your plan’s SAR must be provided to each participant covered by the plan and each beneficiary receiving benefits under the plan—these are the same individuals who must receive an automatic summary plan description (SPD). Employees who become participants covered under the plan are entitled to receive a SAR after they have satisfied the plan’s eligibility requirements, regardless of whether they elect to make deferrals, and former employees remain participants in the plan (and thus are entitled to receive an SAR) until they no longer have an account balance under the plan. An alternate payee receiving payments from the plan under a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a beneficiary for this purpose.