Q:

How do you find a 401(k) account that you have not accessed recently?

A:

Quick Answer

Finding an old 401(k) account that has not been accessed in the recent past may require searches with previous employers and multiple agencies including the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirements Benefits and the Employee Benefits Security Administration by the United States Department of Labor, according to Bankrate.com.

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Full Answer

Lost, abandoned or unclaimed 401(k)--employer-funded retirement savings plans--may be found by contacting previous employers directly and on the IRS Wage and Tax Statement (W-2) form that forms part of an employee's tax return, Bankrate.com reports. Contacting previous employers require participants and nominees to submit the participant's name, dates of employment and social security number, according to Henry & Horne LLP, an Arizona accounting firm.

Employers who offer a 401(k) savings plan are required to maintain records of missing participants in the plan and set up an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) if the unclaimed balance is below $5000, according to National Registry of Unclaimed Retirements Benefits and Henry & Horne LLP. The IRS and the Department of Labor require employers to file an annual report of their employee benefit plans and program through Form 5500--a compliance statement that lists the employer's contact information, according to the IRS and 401khelpcenter.com. Free Form 5500 information for the last two years is available at FreeERISA.com.

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