PBGC Provides Coronavirus-Related Filing Relief

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the agency that insures benefits in certain single-employer defined benefit pension plans, has posted an announcement describing deadline relief being provided as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The PBGC’s disaster relief policy provides that when an event warrants an extension of time to file Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan (or others in the 5500 series), then “the due date for most PBGC filings is extended to the same date.” Triggering the latest extension was IRS Notice 2020-23, which, by reference to Revenue Procedure 2018-58, extended to July 15, 2020, the deadlines for many actions otherwise due to be completed between April 1 and July 15. One of these actions is the filing of Form 5500 for those plans whose deadline falls within these date parameters.

The relief noted by PBGC includes the following.

  • Payment of PBGC premiums due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020
  • ERISA 4010 filings for certain underfunded pension plans (those with filing deadlines on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020

Some deadlines are not extended, including those that are “particularly important or time-sensitive filings … that may indicate a high risk of harm to pension plan participants and the insurance program.” These pertain to such issues as filings to report a loan default and filings to report a liquidation.

To qualify for the relief, it is necessary for the filer to notify the PBGC of its eligibility. The filer must do so on or before the last day of the relief period. The PBGC's “Disaster Relief Announcement” provides more information on the notification process.