DOL Audit: Are You Ready?

The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has 873 full-time employees, and almost 80% of its $183 million budget is dedicated to enforcement.

  • 3566 firms audited so far
  • 2570 firms or 72% audited received penalties
  • 32% were hit with a penalty of greater than $10k
  • $1.2 billion in total penalties

The DOL typically starts an audit with a letter requesting documents related to an employer’s group benefit plan—two of which are the SPD and Plan Document. The fact is, most employers don’t have one or both of these documents, and that could be a major problem during an audit.

The following are some important tips for producing these requested documents:

  • Don’t ignore or delay compliance with the DOL Document Request letter.
  • Submit all requested documents to the DOL within the specified deadline.
  • Don’t provide documents that are not requested.
  • Create a binder with tab headings, indexed in the order the documents were requested and organized chronologically (the DOL typically requests documents from the last 3-5 years).
  • Provide a written explanation of the reason for any missing documents as well as a proposed resolution to the problem.

Remember, the more organized and complete the requested documentation is, the less time the DOL will spend on any subsequent on-site interview, and may actually eliminate the DOL’s need to conduct such an interview altogether. Please email me, if you would like free access to our DOL Audit Document Checklist.


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