The Internal Revenue Service said Thursday it will begin a one-year pilot program in June to help small businesses with retirement plans that owe penalties for not filing reporting documents.

By filing current and prior year forms during this pilot program, small businesses can avoid penalties. The IRS issued a revenue procedure and notice earlier this month describing the program (see IRS Offers Relief to Late Filers of Retirement Plan Forms).

The IRS said Thursday it is also reaching out to certain small businesses that maintain retirement plans and may have been unaware that they had a filing requirement. The IRS projects that the new program will bring a significant number of small business owners into compliance with the reporting requirements.

Plan administrators and sponsors who do not file an annual Form 5500 series return can face stiff penalties of up to $15,000 per return, the IRS noted. Those who have already been assessed a penalty for late filings are not eligible for this program. The program is open only to retirement plans that are generally maintained by certain small businesses, such as those in an owner-spouse arrangement or eligible partnership.

Multiple late retirement plan returns may be included in a single submission. If a retirement plan has delinquent returns for more than one plan year, penalty relief may be available for all of these returns. Similarly, delinquent returns for more than one plan may be included in a single penalty relief request. No filing fee will be charged during the pilot program.

More information on how to participate in the program can be found in Revenue Procedure 2014-32.