The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) protects more than 703,000 private retirement plans, 2.3 million health plans, and similar numbers of other welfare benefit plans. To assist and provide relief to employers/plan sponsors and their employees/plan participants affected by national disasters, EBSA has taken the following actions. Disaster Relief Information for Workers and Families is also available.

The IRS, DOL, and PBGC may announce special extensions of time to file Form 5500 series returns/reports for filers affected by Presidentially-declared disasters or who are serving the Armed Forces of the United States in a combat zone. These special extensions are announced on the IRS’s website.

Reference to the Form 5500 can be found in the announcement under the bold caption “Grant of Relief.” Whatever special extension of filing Form 5500 granted by the IRS will also be automatically permitted by the DOL and PBGC (see Section 8 of Internal Revenue Bulletin 2007-56). Therefore, whether or not DOL or PBGC announce a special extension, Form 5500 series filers to whom the IRS has granted a special extension may file their annual returns/reports by the extended due date stated in the IRS’s announcement.

Filers should follow the instructions to Form 5500 series under the section “Extension of Time To File” regarding how to file the forms when special extensions are granted.

Filers affected by Presidentially-declared disasters are plan administrators, employers, and other entities who file Form 5500 series that are located in the areas designated as federal disaster areas (as listed in IRS’s announcements). These special extensions also apply to 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.

The IRS will announce the particular military operations (i.e., “combat zones”) for which special extensions are granted for filers serving in the Armed Forces of the United States (e.g., Notice 2003–21, 2003–1 C.B. 817 provides that all of the acts listed in Rev. Proc. 2002–71 are applicable for those taxpayers who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom).

If you have questions about your retirement or health benefits plans, contact us electronically or call one of our Benefits Advisors toll-free at 866-444-3272.