Pension Authorities Extend 5500 Filing Deadlines

September 17, 2001 ( - The US Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA), the Internal Revenue Service, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) have extended the deadline for filing Form 5500s and Form 5500-Ezs.

The extension applies to plan administrators, employers and other entities who file the Form 5500 and Form 5500-EZ that are located in the areas designated as federal disaster areas because of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC.

The extension also applies to filers located outside the designated disaster areas who are unable to obtain the information necessary for filing from service providers, banks or insurance companies whose operations are directly affected by the disasters.

Extra Time

Under the extension:

  • those with filings originally due between September 11, 2001, and November 30, 2001, will have an additional six months plus 120 days to file,
  • filers currently on an extension that expires between September 11, 2001, and November 30, 2001, will have an additional 120 days to file,
  • filers who have difficulty in meeting deadlines because of disruption of transportation and mail services resulting from the disasters, and who do not qualify for the extensions described, will have until November 15, 2001 to make their filings

These extensions cannot be further extended by filing a Form 5558.

Filers entitled to the extension relief check Part 1, Box D, on the Form 5500, or Part 1, Box B on the Form 5500-EZ, and attach a statement labeled SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 TERRORIST ATTACK giving reasons for the extension being claimed.

Compliance Guide

In addition, the PWBA also issued general guidance on ERISA compliance regarding employee benefit plans affected by the events of September 11.

The PWBA recognizes that plan fiduciaries may encounter problems with the investment of plan assets upon the reopening of the securities markets and may have to take extraordinary steps to safeguard plan assets.

Document Decisions

In taking these steps, the PWBA requests that plan fiduciaries be sensitive to ensuring that the temporary procedures adopted, and the decisions made, are documented and adequately protect the interests of plans and their participants and beneficiaries.

 “In addressing these issues, and in acknowledging that there may be instances when full compliance may not be possible, the guiding principle must be to ensure that appropriate efforts are made to act reasonably, prudently, and in the interest of the workers and their families, who rely on their health, pension and other benefits for their physical and economic well-being,” said Ann Combs, assistant secretary of the PWBA.

– Camilla Klein                 

A copy of the notice is at