On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). In addition to authorizing $305 billion in funding for federal highway projects, the FAST Act also repeals the recently enacted extension to the Form 5500 filing deadline included in the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act (Surface Transportation Act).

Background

Plan administrators generally must file a plan’s Form 5500 by the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends (July 31 for calendar year plans). Under prior law, a plan administrator could obtain a one-time extension of this deadline for up to 2 1/2 months (October 15 for calendar year plans). On July 31, 2015, President Obama signed the Surface Transportation Act, which, among other things, increased the length of the automatic extension from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 months for plan years beginning after December 31, 2015. The FAST Act repeals the automatic 3 1/2 month extension established by the Surface Transportation Act and restores the original 2 1/2 month extended filing deadline. 

(For more information about the changes made by the Surface Transportation Act, see New Legislation Extends Future Form 5500 and 990 Deadlines, Affects Veterans Health Benefits and Extends Excess Pension Asset Transfer Rules.)

Next Steps

The 3 1/2 month automatic extension established under the Surface Transportation Act was not effective for any plan year beginning before December 31, 2015. Because this change was repealed by the FAST Act prior to the end of 2015, it will not affect 2015 Form 5500 filing deadlines.

As in prior years, a plan administrator generally will be required to file a plan’s Form 5500 by the last day of the seventh month following the end of the plan year. However, a plan administrator who files a Form 5558 can obtain an automatic 2 1/2 month extension to that filing deadline. Plan administrators of calendar year plans will continue to have until the extended deadline of October 15 to submit the plan’s Form 5500. 

The deadline for notices, returns and reports with deadlines tied to the due date for a plan’s Form 5500 filing (like a plan’s Form 8955-SSA or Summary Annual Report) also will not change from prior years.