PBGC to Change the Way it Provides Disaster Relief

By John Iekel • July 03, 2018 • 0 Comments
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has announced that it is changing the way provides relief when a disaster happens. The PBGC often grants relief from certain obligations and deadlines when disasters occur.

Previously, the PBGC granted relief through stand-alone announcements each time IRS granted relief when a major disaster made taxpayers unable to meet a filing deadline. Since the PBGC’s announcements relied on data from IRS news releases, the PBGC’s announcements were always issued later than those of the IRS, and PBGC filers had to wait for the PBGC to respond to each IRS disaster relief news release before they could be certain that PBGC was providing disaster relief.

But the PBGC says that it has streamlined the process it uses to announce relief when a disaster occurs. Now, the PBGC will refer its filers directly to IRS disaster relief news releases. This means that PBGC filers will no longer have to wait for the PBGC to act, because the PBGC’s disaster relief will be connected to the relief the IRS grants. So instead of multiple disaster relief announcements, the, PBGC will have one simple announcement that clearly explains how PBGC disaster relief is keyed to IRS relief, what circumstances generally lead to relief, and the nature of relief generally granted.

Also, the PBGC says, the qualifications for disaster relief and relief granted will be simpler and easier to apply. The PBGC’s previous practice was to describe relief separately for premiums, single-employer plan terminations, reportable events notices, annual employer reporting, administrative review and multiemployer plan filings. Under the new practice, however, regardless of the type of PBGC filing or whether the plan is a multiemployer or single-employer plan, the deadline extension is simply the end of the IRS relief period for due dates that fall within that period.

Another change is that when PBGC disaster relief was based on problems getting information or assistance from a service provider, the provider’s operations had to be “directly affected” by the disaster. Now, the PBGC is simply requiring that the service provider be located in the disaster area — the same objective condition as for the person required to file.

And regarding filing of PBGC premiums, the PBGC is changing its practice so that in addition to not imposing late payment penalty charges for the disaster relief period, it also will not assess late payment interest charges.

The PBGC’s announcement will appear in the Federal Register of July 2, 2018.