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DOL Does Not Extend 2009 Form 5500 Filing Deadline

From the AICPA Employee Benefit Audit Quality Center (October 13th, 2010)

In a letter dated October 13, 2010, the DOL has denied the AICPA’s request for an automatic extension of two months for filing 2009 Forms 5500/5500-SF . In addition, the AICPA asked that plans be granted relief from late filing penalties if a plan administrator acts diligently and in good faith but is unable to meet its filing deadline.

Because its records show that over 525,000 have already filed timely their 2009 Form 5500 or 5500-SF using the EFAST 2 electronic filing system, DOL does not believe it appropriate at this time to grant a general extension to plans that have not yet filed their annual reports. In addition, DOL does not believe it would be appropriate to grant blanket relief from late filing civil penalties. The IRS and the PBGC have advised the DOL that they concur in this response.

DOL also reminded filers of its Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP), which is designed to give delinquent plan administrators a way to avoid potentially higher late filing civil penalty assessments, as well as the DOL’s normal reasonable cause procedures whereby requests for reductions or waivers of late filing penalties would be handled on a case-by-case basis. In addition, IRS indicated that while IRS late filing penalties are considered on a case-by-case basis taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances, the IRS expects to consider EFAST 2 transition issues in determining whether a delay or failure relating to the 2009 filing was due to reasonable cause.