(b)lines Ask the Experts – Is the Form 5500 Extension Deadline Extended?

“I heard that there was an additional month added to the extended deadline for Form 5500 filings, so that calendar year returns are now due November 15th instead of October 15th for calendar year plans that request an extension. Is this true?”

Michael A. Webb, vice president, Cammack Retirement Group, answers:     

No, this is not true, but the Experts can certainly understand any confusion in this regard, as there has been a flurry of activity in this area in the past year.

On July 31, 2015, President Obama signed the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. Among other provisions, this law changed tax filing deadlines for certain types of returns, including Form 5500s. Specifically, it moved the extension deadline by one month so that the maximum extension was 3-1/2 months, and not 2-1/2 months. The extension was to have taken effect beginning with the filing of 2016 5500s, so that returns for such plans, normally due on July 31, 2017, could be filed as late as November 15, 2017.

However, as referenced in an article in the December 2015 Issue of PLANSPONSOR magazine, apparently the Department of Labor (DOL) was not asked about this deadline change, and lobbied to reverse it and restore the old deadline extension of 2-1/2 months (October 15th for calendar-year plans). Sure enough, on  December 4th, President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation  (FAST) Act of 2015, which repealed the extended filing deadline passed less than five months earlier and restored the law that was previously in effect with regard to 5500 filings.

So essentially, this is a story of a deadline change that never was.

Thank you for your question!


NOTE: This feature is to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice.