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Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief

Overview

Disaster Relief Announcement

Reporting Disaster Relief Eligibility on 2018 Premium Filings

Prior Stand-Alone Disaster Relief Announcements

Overview

When the Internal Revenue Service provides relief to taxpayers that are unable to meet a filing deadline because of a major disaster (e.g., a hurricane), PBGC also provides relief. On July 2, 2018, PBGC is issuing a Federal Register Notice explaining that rather than issuing stand-alone announcements each time IRS grants disaster relief, PBGC is streamlining the process by issuing a one-time announcement regarding the PBGC disaster relief that comes into play each time IRS grants relief in response to a particular disaster. The one-time announcement explains which types of filings and notices are covered, what the relief entails, how/when to notify PBGC that your plan qualifies for the relief, etc. The relief described in the one-time announcement is applicable for disasters covered by an IRS disaster relief news release issued on or after July 2, 2018.

For more information on changes to PBGC’s disaster relief practice, see the Federal Register Notice.

Disaster Relief Announcement

When a disaster causes a delay in making a required filing or in taking some other required action, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) generally grants relief by extending the time to act. PBGC’s relief relies on data from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announcements, so historically PBGC has followed IRS’ lead when announcing relief. With this announcement, unless a filing is on the Exceptions List, filers can be assured that PBGC grants disaster relief when, where, and for the same relief period that IRS grants relief for taxpayers affected by a disaster. Filers will not have to wait for PBGC to issue a separate announcement.

PBGC also may grant case-by-case relief for filings and actions on the Exceptions List. See Requesting Case-by-Case Relief for how to request such relief.

Disasters Covered

Except for filings and actions on the Exceptions List, PBGC provides relief where there is a disaster for which the IRS announces that tax relief is being granted for affected taxpayers that includes filing extensions for the Form 5500 series returns. The IRS announces tax relief for a disaster in a news release that states:

  • The identifying number of the announcement.
  • The disaster for which relief is granted.
  • The disaster area covered by the announcement (typically counties within a state).
  • The starting and ending dates of the relief period covered by the announcement.

Each news release may be updated periodically by the IRS to broaden the disaster area to include places subsequently affected by the same disaster and covered by the relief.

IRS news releases announcing tax relief for disasters are listed on IRS’ website. Select the applicable news release on the list to see the text of the announcement.

Requirements for Disaster Relief

The disaster relief in this announcement applies only if all the following requirements are met:

  • The person responsible for a filing, payment, or other action under PBGC regulations, e.g., a plan administrator or contributing sponsor, is located in the disaster area. Or, a person responsible for providing information or other assistance needed for the filing, payment, or other action, e.g., a service provider (such as the plan’s enrolled actuary) or bank, is located in the disaster area.
  • The due date of the filing, payment, or other action falls within the relief period.
  • The filer notifies PBGC of the filer’s eligibility for disaster relief on or before the last day of the relief period. See Notifying PBGC of Your Eligibility for Disaster Relief for additional information.
  • The filing or action is not described in the Exceptions List.

Relief Granted

If the requirements for relief listed are met, the due date for the filing, payment, or other action is extended to the last day of the relief period. Accordingly:

  • A filing will not be subject to a late filing penalty under section 4071 or 4302 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) for the relief period.  
  • A premium payment will not be subject to late payment penalty or interest charges under section 4007 of ERISA for the relief period.
  • The extended due date for a filing or other action will apply for purposes of calculating any other due date that is based on the due date of the filing or other action. For instance, if a plan is filing certain actuarial information by an alternative due date that is 15 days after a plan’s Form 5500 due date (29 CFR 4010.10(b)), and the deadline to file a Form 5500 is extended because of a disaster, then the 15-day period in PBGC’s regulation is automatically measured from the last day of the Form 5500 disaster relief period.

Example of How Disaster Relief Works

Plan A is a calendar year plan. Absent disaster relief, Plan A would be required to submit the 2018 Comprehensive Premium Filing (CPF) and pay its 2018 premium by October 15, 2018.

IRS issues a news release providing disaster relief for tax payers in a specified disaster area for the period September 4, 2018 through January 31, 2019. Plan A’s plan administrator is located in the disaster area covered by the IRS disaster relief news release. Plan A notifies PBGC that it is eligible for disaster relief on or before January 31, 2019 (either by submitting a CPF in which such eligibility is reported or by sending an email to PBGC). If Plan A pays its 2018 premium:

  • On or before January 31, 2019, no late payment charges (interest or penalties) will be assessed.
  • After January 31, 2019, late payment charges will begin accruing on February 1, 2019.

Exceptions List

The following filings and actions are not covered by the disaster relief announcement. These are filings that involve particularly important or time-sensitive information where there may be a high risk of substantial harm to participants or PBGC’s insurance program. To request case-by-case relief for these filings see Requesting Case-by-Case Relief.

Advance notices of reportable events under ERISA section 4043 (Form 10-Advance).

  • Notices of large missed contributions under ERISA section 303(k) (Form 200).
  • Post-event notices for the following five reportable events under ERISA section 4043:
  • Failure to make required contributions under $1 million.
    • Inability to pay benefits when due
    • Liquidation
    • Loan default
    • Insolvency or similar settlement
  • Actions related to distress terminations for which PBGC has issued a distribution notice.

Notifying PBGC of Your Eligibility for Disaster Relief;

Premium filings: Notify us by providing certain information as part of the Comprehensive Premium Filing. See the Filing Instructions for the applicable plan year for details. We also encourage filers to notify us by email to premiums@pbgc.gov as soon as reasonably possible that you are eligible for disaster relief. The email should contain the following identifying information:

  • the number of the applicable IRS News Release
  • plan information, i.e., plan name, EIN, plan number, and
  • the name and address of the person affected by the disaster.

The name and address of the affected person may be omitted if the plan administrator’s address reported in the most recently submitted premium filing is in the applicable disaster area.

In situations where a filer is unable to submit, or anticipates difficulty in submitting, the Comprehensive Premium Filing by the end of the relief period, the filer should notify us by sending an email to premiums@pbgc.gov with the same information listed.

All other filings or actions: Notify us by following the disaster relief instructions (if any) for the particular filing.  If there are no such instructions, filers should notify us of their eligibility for relief by sending an email by the end of the relief period to the email address included in the instructions for the particular filing, or on a PBGC webpage listing applicable contact information, such as PBGC’s Contact Information for Practitioners page.

The email should contain relevant identifying information, such as:

  • the number of the applicable IRS News Release
  • plan information, i.e., plan name, EIN, plan number, and
  • the name and address of the person affected by the disaster.

We encourage filers to notify us as soon as reasonably possible.

Requesting Case-by-Case Relief

Follow the instructions for requesting a waiver or extension in the regulations or instructions for completing the particular filing. For example, for a reportable events filing on the Exceptions List, follow the provision for waivers and extensions in PBGC’s reportable events regulation at 29 CFR 4043.4. That provision explains that a request for a waiver or extension must be filed with PBGC in writing, which may be in electronic form, and must state the facts and circumstances on which the request is based.

If there is no such guidance, contact PBGC as soon as reasonably possible using the phone number or email address in the instructions for the particular filing, or on a PBGC webpage listing applicable contact information, such as PBGC’s Contact Information for Practitioners page.

Otherwise, contact PBGC’s Practitioner Problem Resolution Officer by:

  • Email at practitioner.pro@pbgc.gov.
  • Telephone at 800-736-2444 extension 4136 or 202-326-4136.(For TTY users, call 800-877-8339 and request connection to 202-326-4136.)
  • US mail at Practitioner Problem Resolution Officer, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street NW, Suite 610, Washington DC 20005-4026.

For general information on PBGC disaster relief, call our toll-free practitioner number, 800-736-2444.

Last updated July 3, 2018