The due dates for many tax returns were changed in an unlikely vehicle — the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (signed by the President on July 31, 2015). For tax years starting after December 31, 2015 the automatic extension period for Form 5500 is increased from 2½ months to 3½ months. For calendar year plans, this means the extended due date will be November 15th instead of October 15th. In addition, the Form 990 will now have a single automatic 6-month extension period beginning on the due date of the return without regard to extensions. The current first 90 day extension has been eliminated. A calendar year Form 990 filer with an original return due date of May 15th will now have an automatic extension until November 15th.
While the Form 5500 and 990 deadlines are important for benefits professionals, various other tax deadlines were revised, including the original dates for partnership returns (Form 1065) and C-corporation returns (Form 1120). In addition, the new law provides the IRS an increased audit period from three to six years in many cases.