PLAINVIEW , NY (MMD Newswire) May 25, 2010 -- As of January 1, 2010 the Department of Labor has gone "paper-less". Businesses with a 401k or pension plan, must electronically file Form 5500 with The Department of Labor. For the past four months, pension professionals were not allowed to file Form 5500 on behalf of their clients. However The Department of Labor has backtracked on their position and recently announced that they will allow pension professionals to file the forms on behalf of their clients. However, the new relaxed position of The Department of Labor will increase Identity Theft amongst business owners; as their signatures will be posted on-line.
Brett Goldstein, a Plainview, New York-based pension administrator and President of The Pension Department, Inc., states, the Department of Labor has bowed to pressure from The American Society of Pension Actuaries who wanted pension professionals to be able to file Department of Labor Form 5500 on behalf of their clients.
Unfortunately, the leniency that the Department of Labor is showing will lead to higher rates of identity theft," says Goldstein. "In order for pension professionals to file Form 5500 for their clients, clients will have to sign a paper version of the 5500, which will then be posted on the Internet for anyone to see. Anyone looking to steal your identity will be able to access your signature and tax ID on the Department of Labor website."
All businesses with a pension plan and/or a 401k must electronically file Form 5500 with the Department of Labor. In order to electronically file Form 5500, The Department of Labor is issuing business owners an ID number and password. The Department of Labor originally stated that they did not want pension professionals to file the forms on behalf of clients. The Department of Labor stated that for privacy reasons, the ID number and password given to employers had to be protected and not shared.
"This is ridiculous," says Goldstein. "On one hand the Department of Labor wants to protect people by forbidding them to share their ID numbers and passwords. Yet on the other hand, they have no problems with posting your signature and tax ID number online for anyone to see. Disgruntled employees with access to the boss's signature can forge the boss's name on a business check and empty the business bank account. Disgruntled employees with the boss's signature and tax ID could also apply for corporate credit cards and completely ruin a business."
The Department of Labor needs to rethink their new policy of posting signatures on the Internet. In the meantime, business owners with 401ks and pension plans should file the Form 5500 themselves, to avoid having their signature posted on-line.
About Brett Goldstein:
Brett Goldstein is a Pension Administrator and President of The Pension Department, a consultancy based in Plainview, New York. He is a speaker and media personality who specializes in providing businesses and individuals with affordable retirement planning solutions. Goldstein's timely advice and tips have been featured on Fox Business Network, Kiplinger's, Wall Street Journal Radio, MarketWatch.com, New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune, and many others. Investment services are offered exclusively through: Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.
Brett Goldstein is available for interview: In the Greater New York City area; nationwide by arrangement via telephone; available for interviews in print or broadcast.
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