Fragasso Retirement Plan Consulting Solutions
Many regulator functions will halt during the federal government shutdown, but plan sponsors shouldn’t snooze. For those sponsors that may have filed an extension for their Form 5500, the tax filing for qualified retirement plans, the October 15th deadline is looming just ahead. “Don’t assume you’re getting a pass,” David N. Levine, an attorney with Groom Law Group, told PlanSponsor Magazine1. Levine noted that the shutdown will not last forever; plan sponsors can still make submissions and electronic systems are still running. Plan sponsors should still respect official deadlines, such as for plan funding and Form 5500 filings, he said. A notice on the IRS’s website indicates there will be a halt on audits, but Levine warned that when the shutdown is over, they will pick up where they left off. The IRS reported only 20 staff members who are excepted from the furlough. “This staff will ensure statute protection and processing of remittances, as needed,” the agency said.
The determination letter, private letter ruling, and voluntary correction programs are halted. Levine said if plan sponsors or providers want to submit a private letter ruling, they can send one in, but it will probably sit until the shutdown is over. The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) posted a notice on its website saying, “If you are covered by an employer sponsored group health plan and need assistance with an urgent medical situation which poses an imminent threat to human life or who have knowledge of criminal activity that may result in the loss of your retirement, disability or health benefits you should call 202-693-8630. If your situation is not an emergency, please call back when the government re-opens.” The EBSA also noted that its website is not being updated during the shutdown and in the event the website experiences an outage, work will not be performed to restore the site.
Our experience has been that the electronic filing system used by the IRS/DOL can sometimes be overwhelmed on the due date. If at all possible we recommend filing your Form 5500 prior to Tuesday, October 15th to avoid any delays and possible late filing penalties.
If you have questions about your Form 5500 filing or unsure why your administrator may have filed an extension on your behalf, feel free to give Fragasso Retirement Plan Advisors a call at 412-227-3200 and we will be glad to assist you.
1- PlanSponsor Magazine 10.2.13 , Marilyn R. Collister October 4, 2013
Daniel Halle is Vice President and Manager, Retirement Plan Services at Fragasso Financial Advisors, a Pittsburgh-based investment and financial planning firm. Due to industry regulations, comments are not permitted on this blog. If you would like to contact the author, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dan can also be reached for comment at 412-227-3200.