PBGC Provides Relief to Sponsors Affected by Hurricane Maria

DB plan sponsors have until January 31, 2018, to comply with certain reporting and payment deadlines.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is waiving certain penalties and extending certain deadlines in response to Hurricane Maria for plan sponsors in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

For the U.S. Virgin Islands, the disaster area consists of islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. The disaster area consists of any of the 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico.

The Disaster Relief Announcements provide relief relating to PBGC deadlines to Designated Persons, defined as any person responsible for meeting a PBGC deadline (e.g., a plan administrator or contributing sponsor) that is located in the disaster area for which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has provided relief in VI-2017-02 and PR-2017-02, in connection with filing extensions for Form 5500 series returns, or that cannot reasonably obtain information or other assistance needed to meet the deadline from a service provider, bank, or other person whose operations are directly affected by Hurricane Maria.

For the U.S. Virgin Islands, defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors with payment or reporting deadlines from September 16 to December 31, 2017, have until January 31, 2018, to comply. For Puerto Rico, DB plan sponsors with payment or reporting deadlines from September 17 to December 31 have until January 31, 2018, to comply.

The relief applies to PBGC premiums, single-employer plan terminations, reportable event notices, annual employer reporting, requests for reconsideration or appeals and multiemployer plan deadlines.

There is not specific disaster relief for all filings. For example, the agency does not provide relief for certain filings that involve particularly important or time sensitive information where there may be a high risk of substantial harm to participants or the PBGC insurance program, e.g., notices of large missed contributions under section 302(f) of ERISA (Form 200), advance notices of reportable events under ERISA section 4043, and annual financial and actuarial information from certain controlled groups under ERISA section 4010.

Those persons affected by the Hurricane Maria who need relief from PBGC that is not covered by its Disaster Relief Announcements should contact PBGC as soon as reasonably possible to request case-by-case relief.

The announcement for the U.S. Virgin Islands is here. The announcement for Puerto Rico is here.