Natural disasters can cause upheaval in many aspects of victims’ lives and this destruction often extends to financial matters. What should otherwise be routine compliance for plan deadlines can prove difficult in these extreme events and the government tends to grant temporary relief in such cases.
The Department of Labor announced Oct. 26th that it has published employee benefit plan compliance guidance and relief for victims of recent Hurricanes Florence and Michael. The relief includes easing of enforcement concerning the rules governing plan loans and distributions, as well as relief regarding filing the Form 5500. This is in conjunction with an earlier October 12th release by the IRS announcing it is granting relief to certain victims in areas of Florida and Georgia that suffered at the hands of these storms. To see the full IRS release and further detail on the relief extensions, visit https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-for-victims-of-hurricane-michael-in-florida.
Storm victims in the following counties are subject to the extensions:
Florida counties – Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington
Georgia counties – Baker, Bleckley, Burke, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Emanuel, Grady, Houston, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Pulaski, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Treutlen, Turner, Wilcox, and Worth
The DOL also announced that it will not allege a violation of the blackout notice requirements solely on the basis that a fiduciary did not make the required written determination due to Hurricane Florence or Hurricane Michael. If you were subject to these natural disasters, it’s in your best interest to work with your TPA to take advantage of the possible relief offered by the DOL and IRS.
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