Deadlines are a large part of employee benefit plan administration.  The past 12 – 18 months have contributed to potential confusion about standard deadlines and added new deadlines plan administrators will not want to overlook.  During this period, the IRS created a one-time window deadline, published extensions for some plans’ deadlines, and other deadlines were not extended but are rapidly approaching.  July and August 2020, bring the most immediate deadlines for plan administrators.

In March, as part of the COVID-19 relief, the IRS extended the deadline for the end of the second six-year remedial amendment cycle for pre-approved (including volume submitter) defined benefit plans to July 31, 2020.  The same relief postponed the beginning of the Cycle 3 remedial amendment period to August 1, 2020, but the end date for Cycle 3 remains January 1, 2025.  We initially discussed this extension in a March 2020, blog.

The IRS opened the determination letter program through its Revenue Procedure 2019-20, published in May of 2019.  The revenue procedure permanently opened the determination letter program for Individually Designed Plans (IDP) that meet the requirements of a “merged plan” as defined in the revenue procedure.  The procedure also opened a limited, 12-month window for statutory hybrid plans, e.g., cash balance plans, to submit for a determination letter.  That 12-month window ends August 31, 2020.  As we stated in our May 2019, blog, plan sponsors and practitioners would welcome additional, periodic opportunities to obtain determination letters on other plans.

The IRS also issued COVID-19 relief extending Form 5500 filing deadlines for some plans based on the plan year-end date.  The relief ended on July 15, 2020, and DID NOT extend filing deadlines for calendar year plans.  The Form 5500 or Form 5558 extension filing deadline for a 2019 calendar year plan remains July 31, 2020.  All other filing deadlines associated with Form 5500 filings for plan years ending after December 31, 2019, are not extended and should be filed timely as in prior years according to the plan year-end date.

The Bottom Line:

  • Pre-approved defined benefit plans’ second six-year remedial amendment period ends July 31, 2020;
  • The determination letter submission window for statutory hybrid plans, e.g., cash balance plans, ends August 31, 2020; and
  • Calendar year plans required to file Form 5500s must still file the Form 5500 or the Form 5558 extension by July 31, 2020.

We are available to help plan administrators sort through applicable deadlines.  Please contact a team member or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work if you have questions or need assistance.