Deadline Extensions for Retirement Plans on Account of COVID-19

1. What guidance has been issued granting deadline extensions for retirement plans on account of COVID-19?


The Internal Revenue Service(IRS)has issued Notices 2020-23 and 2020-35and the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01(together with a final rule (the Final Rule)issued jointly by the DOL, the Department of Health and Human Services and Treasury)announcing the postponement of certain deadlines on account of the COVID-19 emergency.


2. What relief does Notice 2020-23 provide for retirement plans?


IRS Notice 2020-23announced that any taxpayer required to perform a time-sensitive act described in Revenue Procedure 2018-58 or Treas. Reg. Section 301.7508A-1(c)(1)(iv)-(vi), which is due to be performed on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020, is entitled to an automatic extension of time to perform that act until July 15, 2020.Among those deadlines extended by the notice for retirement plans are the following:

  • The time for making loan payments to qualified plans.

  • The deadline for filing Forms 5500 and 8955-SSA. Includes other versions of the Form 5500 such as Form 5500-EZ and Form 5500-SF.

  • Initial required minimum distribution deadline of April 1, 2020 from a defined benefit plan or tax-exempt 457(b)plans.

  • 12-month deadline to correct ADP/ACP test failures.

  • 2 ½ month deadline to make ADP/ACP refunds without 10% excise tax liability.

  • Deadline to distribute section 402(g) excess deferrals, which is usually April 15.

  • 60-day indirect rollover deadline.

  • Self-correction of significant operational failures by the last day of the second plan year following the plan year for which the failure occurred.

3. What relief does Notice 2020-35 provide for retirement plans?


RS Notice 2020-35 expands the relief provided in Notice 2020-23. Among the additional deadlines extended by the notice are the following:

  • The deadline for filing a defined benefit plan application for a funding waiver.•Deadline for filing a Form 5330 excise tax return.

  • The time for retroactively correcting form defects in a 403(b) plan under Rev. Proc. 2017-18.

  • The deadline for the adoption of pre-approved defined benefit plan as established under Announcement 2018-05.

  • The 150-day time period for implementing corrective action set forth in a compliance statement under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS).

4. What relief does EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01 and the Final Rule provide related to retirement plans?


Among other forms of relief, the Notice and the Final Rule provide for the following:

  • An extension of deadlines for furnishing required notice or disclosures to plan participants, beneficiaries and other persons required by Title I of ERISA during the period beginning March 1, 2020 and 60 days after the end of the COVID-19 national emergency. This relief is available only if the plan and responsible plan fiduciary act in good faith and furnish the notice, disclosure or document as soon as administratively practicable under the circumstances.

  • Additional time for participants and beneficiaries to make claims for benefits and appeal denied claims. Retirement plans must disregard the period from March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the end of the COVID-19 national emergency from the time within which participants and beneficiaries must make claims for benefits or appeals denied claims under ERISA.

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