DOL Extends Form 5500/5500 EZ Filing Deadline for Ike-Affected Areas

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) on Monday announced an extension of the deadline for filing Form 5500 and Form 5500 EZ annual report/returns due to damage from Hurricane Ike in Texas and Louisiana. President Bush has declared 29 counties in Texas and 14 parishes in Louisiana as disaster areas due to damage caused by the hurricane. The extension applies to plan administrators, employers, and other entities located in areas directly affected, as identified by FEMA.

The designated disaster areas for Texas include the counties of Angelina, Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Cherokee, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, Walker, Waller, and Washington.

In Louisiana, the disaster areas include the parishes of Acadia, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafourche, Plaquemines, Sabine, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Vermilion, and Vernon.

DOL said the extension also applies to firms located outside the affected areas that are unable to obtain the necessary information from service providers, banks, or insurance companies whose operations were directly affected by the weather. Under this relief, Form 5500 series filings required to be filed between Sept. 7, 2008, and Jan. 5, 2009, for entities in Texas and filings in Louisiana due between Sept. 11, 2008, and Jan. 5, 2009, are granted an extension until Jan. 5, 2009. Plan filers entitled to an extension of relief should check Part I, Box D on the Form 5500 or Part I on Form 5500-EZ, and attach a statement to the form in accordance with the instructions.

Filers who have additional questions may contact EBSA's EFAST helpline toll-free at (866) 463-3278. For updates and more information about disaster relief, contact FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or the Internal Revenue Service through www.irs.gov under "Disaster Area Tax Relief."

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