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IRS Extends Some Employee Benefit Plan Deadlines, But Not Calendar Year 2019 Form 5500 Due Date



IRS Notice 2020-23 (Apr. 9, 2020)

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The IRS has issued Notice 2020-23, expanding on previously issued guidance extending certain tax filing and payment deadlines in response to the COVID-19 emergency (see our Checkpoint article). The notice, issued under the federally declared disaster provisions of Code § 7508A, applies to specified filing obligations and other actions (specified actions) that would otherwise be due on or after April 1 and before July 15, 2020, and extends the due date for specified actions to July 15, 2020. Specified actions include any “specified time-sensitive action” listed in Rev. Proc. 2018-58, including many relating to employee benefit plans. The relief is automatic—no extension form, letter, or other request needs to be filed with the IRS—and applies to any person required to perform specified actions within the relief window. Filing extensions beyond July 15, 2020, may be sought using the appropriate extension form, but the extension will not go beyond the original statutory or regulatory extension date. Here are highlights:

  • Form 5500. Filing Form 5500 is an obligation listed in Rev. Proc. 2018-58, which specifies that any Form 5500 filing extension under Code § 7508A will also be recognized by the DOL. [EBIA Comment: The Notice 2020-23 relief window covers Form 5500 filings for plan years that ended in September, October, or November 2019, as well as Form 5500 deadlines within the window as a result of a previously filed extension request. These filings are now due July 15, 2020. The relief window does not include the July 31, 2020, due date for 2019 Form 5500 filings for calendar-year plans. Those plans may seek a regular extension using Form 5558.]
  • Retirement Plans. The extended deadlines apply to correcting excess contributions and excess aggregate contributions (based on nondiscrimination testing) and excess deferrals, plan loan repayments, the 60-day timeframe for rollover completion, and the deadline for filing Form 8955-SSA to report information on separated plan participants with undistributed vested benefits. [EBIA Comment: The relief for excess deferrals is a change from previous FAQ guidance, which indicated that 2019 excess deferrals still needed to be corrected by April 15, 2020 (see our Checkpoint article). In addition, while loan relief is already available to certain individuals for specified COVID-19 related reasons (see our Checkpoint article), this relief appears to apply more broadly, albeit for a shorter period of time. The Form 8955-SSA due date is the same as for the plan’s Form 5500, so the extension applies in the same manner.]
  • HSAs. The notice extends the 60-day timeframe for completing HSA (or Archer MSA) rollovers, and the deadline to report HSA (or Archer MSA) contribution information by filing Form 5498-SA and furnishing the information to account holders. [EBIA Comment: The regular deadline for the 2019 Form 5498-SA would be June 1, 2020, placing it squarely within this relief.]

EBIA Comment: Plan administrators and service providers should carefully review Notice 2020-23 in conjunction with Rev. Proc. 2018-58 to determine exactly what relief may be available. For example, the revenue procedure covers various cafeteria plan items, but many deadlines may fall outside the notice’s relief window. For more information, see EBIA’s ERISA Compliance manual at Section XXII.F.2 (“Form 5500 Is Normally Due Seven Months After End of Plan Year”). See also EBIA’s 401(k) Plans manual at Sections VIII.M (“Correcting Excess Deferrals”), XIV (“Distributions: Rollovers and Taxation”), XVI.N (“Distributions: Participant Loans: Special Rules for Disaster Relief”), XXXI.B (“Basic Form 5500 Rules: Who, When, What, and How”), and XXXI.M.4 (“Form 8955-SSA (Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits)”); EBIA’s Consumer-Driven Health Care manual at Sections XII.O (“Rollovers and Transfers From Other Accounts”) and XVII (“HSAs: Reporting Requirements”); and EBIA’s Cafeteria Plans manual at Section XXXVI.I (“Administering a Cafeteria Plan in the Event of a Disaster”).

Contributing Editors: EBIA Staff.

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