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Frequently Asked Questions

Filing Relief for Plan Sponsors

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Who qualifies for the extension relief granted by the Agencies to file the Form 5500/5500-EZ due to the September 11, 2001 disaster?

The extension applies to plan administrators, employers and other entities located in areas designated as federal disaster areas because of the terrorist attacks.  Filers located outside the designated disaster areas who are unable to obtain information necessary for filing from service providers, banks or insurance companies whose operations are directly affected by the terrorist attacks are also covered.  The extended time periods are:

  • Form 5500/5500-EZ filers with an original due date between September 11, 2001, and November 30, 2001, are allowed an additional six (6) months plus 120 days to file.
  • Form 5500/5500-EZ filers currently on an extension that expires between September 11, 2001, and November 30, 2001, are allowed an additional 120 days to file.
  • In addition, filers who have difficulty in meeting filing deadlines because of disruption of transportation and delivery of documents by mail or private delivery service resulting from the disasters, and who do not otherwise qualify for the extensions described above, have until November 15, 2001, to make their filings.
  • These extensions of time cannot be extended further by filing a Form 5558.

What are the designated federal disaster areas that are covered by EBSA Press Release No. 01-36?

The disaster areas covered by EBSA Press Release No. 01-36 (September 14, 2001) are those counties identified in Internal Revenue Service Notice 2001-61 (September 13, 2001).  Those counties are the five New York State counties of the Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Queens and Richmond as well as Arlington County in Virginia.  For situations that are not covered by EBSA Press Release No. 01-36, filers are encouraged to attach statements of reasonable cause that describe the reasons for their late or deficient filing.  Filers with questions about Form 5500 filing requirements may contact the EBSA Help Desk at 1.866.463.3278 for guidance.

If I am eligible for the extension relief discussed in EBSA Press Release No. 01-36, how do I notify the Agencies?

Filers entitled to this extension relief should check Form 5500, Part I, Box D (Form 5500-EZ, Part I, Box B) and attach a statement labeled September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attack that explains the basis for the extension being claimed.

A filer who is located in one of the disaster areas has a Form 5500 filing with an original due date of October 1, 2001 (September 30 falls on a Sunday).  What is the due date under this extension?

Because the filing was originally due between September 11, 2001, and November 30, 2001, the filer will be allowed an additional six (6) months plus 120 days to file.  Therefore, the extended due date is July 30, 2002 (calculated by adding six (6) months plus 120 days to the original October 1, 2001, due date).

A filing was originally due on July 31, 2001.  A Form 5558 was properly filed, extending the due date to October 15, 2001.  The filer is located in one of the disaster areas.  What is the due date of the filing under this extension?

A filer currently on an extension that expires between September 11, 2001, and November 30, 2001, will be allowed an additional 120 days to file.  Therefore, a filer that had an extended filing due date of October 15, 2001, would have until February 12, 2002, to make its filing.

A filer located within one of the designated federal disaster areas had an original filing due date between September 11, 2001, and November 30, 2001, and filed Form 5558 to extend its due date beyond November 30, 2001.  Is this filer still eligible to use the longer extension relief provided by EBSA Press Release No. 01-36?

Yes.  Because the original filing was due between September 11, 2001, and November 30, 2001, the filer is eligible for an extension of six (6) months plus 120 days from its original filing due date.

The filer with an October 15, 2001, due date is not located in one of the areas that was designated a federal disaster area.  However, the filer is unable to obtain information necessary to complete its Form 5500/5500-EZ from its service provider whose operations have been directly affected by the disasters in time to meet that due date.  Does the filer qualify for the extension relief provided by EBSA Press Release No. 01-36?

Yes.  The extension relief applies to covered filers located outside the designated disaster areas who are unable to obtain the information necessary for filing from service providers, banks or insurance companies whose operations are directly affected by the disasters.

A filer with a September 17, 2001, due date is not located in a designated disaster area and its service providerís operations are not directly affected by the disasters.  On September 10, 2001, the service provider mailed a completed Form 5500/5500-EZ to the filer for review and signature, but the filer was not able to meet its September 17, 2001, deadline because of disruption in mail service as a result of the disasters.  Is the filer eligible to use the extension relief provided by EBSA Press Release No. 01-36?

Yes.  The press release makes provision for those filers who do not otherwise qualify for the reporting extension but experience difficulty in meeting their filing deadlines because of a disruption of transportation and delivery by mail or private delivery service resulting from the September 11, 2001, disasters.  In this case, the filer has until November 15, 2001, to make its Form 5500/5500-EZ filings.

A filer, whose Form 5500/5500-EZ filing was due on extension August 15, 2001, is not located within one of the designated federal disaster areas.  The filerís service providerís operations have been directly affected by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  Is the filer eligible to use the extension relief provided by EBSA Press Release No. 01-36?

No.  The extension relief provided by EBSA Press Release No. 01-36 does not apply because the filing was due prior to September 11, 2001.

A plan, which has investments in a Common/Collective Trust (CCT), submits its filing in a timely manner.  The planís filing is based upon the CCTís representation that the CCT will file as a direct filing entity.  The CCT is located in one of the designated disaster areas and was unable to submit the filing by its October 15, 2001, due date.  What extensions are available to the CCT with regard to its filing?

Because the CCT is located in an area designated as a federal disaster area, and the due date of the CCT filing is between September 11, 2001, and November 30, 2001, the CCT has an additional six (6) months plus 120 days to make its filing to the Department of Labor.

What happens if I have further questions about the Form 5500/5500-EZ filing extensions granted by the Agencies as a result of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack?

EBSA recognizes that plan administrators will encounter a wide variety of unique compliance related concerns over the next several months as the practical and personal implications of this national tragedy continue to unfold.  Filers may wish to call EBSA's Toll-Free Employee & Employer Hotline number at 1-866-444-3272 with their questions about the reporting extensions discussed above, or contact EBSA by email.