In response to the continued administrative difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance extends additional retirement plan deadlines for 2020.
In response to the administrative difficulties faced by plan administrators due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2020-35, which extends additional retirement plan deadlines for 2020 not previously extended under IRS Notice 2020-23. The IRS also stated that this relief applies for purposes of ERISA if the tax code deadline has a corresponding ERISA provision.
Adoption of Pre-Approved Defined Benefit Plan
The April 30, 2020, deadline to adopt a pre-approved pension plan and submit a Form 5307 determination letter application under the second six-year remedial amendment cycle is extended to July 31, 2020.
Minimum Funding Waivers and Certain Funding Actions for Defined Benefit Plans
The Code permits defined benefit plan sponsors to obtain a waiver of minimum funding requirements in the event of temporary substantial business hardship, provided that the plan sponsor apply for the waiver by the 15th day of the third month after the end of the plan year during which the waiver is sought. In addition, multiemployer-defined benefit plans are required to have a plan actuary make certain certifications each year about the plan’s funding by the 90th day of the plan year. To the extent that these deadlines fall between March 30 and July 15, 2020, for a particular plan, that deadline has been extended to July 15. The IRS has similarly extended various deadlines for certain multiemployer pension plan funding actions, such as establishing funding improvement plans and providing certain participant notices.
Form 5330 Filing
The Form 5330, used to report and pay certain excise taxes related to employee benefit plans, must be filed by various dates depending on the tax being paid. If the deadline for a particular Form 5330 filing falls between March 30 and July 15, 2020, it may now be filed by July 15, 2020.
403(b) Plan Remedial Amendment Period
403(b) plan sponsors may retroactively correct plan document defects by amending the plan or adopting a pre-approved plan by the end of the remedial amendment period, which should have been March 31, 2020. This deadline has been extended to June 30, 2020.
Once approved by the IRS, voluntary corrections made under the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) component of the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) must be made within 150 days of the date of the written compliance statement approving the proposed correction, including adoption of plan amendments. To the extent that 150-day deadline falls between March 30, 2020, and July 15, 2020, for a particular correction, plan sponsors now have until July 15, 2020, to complete the correction.
These newly extended deadlines provide retirement plan sponsors with increased flexibility in plan administration in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plan sponsors should evaluate applicable extensions as they continue to administer retirement benefits during 2020.