In response to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, on March 4 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enacted reporting relief from certain provisions of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. Three weeks later, on March 25, the SEC announced that it would extend the filing periods included in the relief. The newly issued guidance expands to registrants that file a Form 11-K with the SEC for benefit plans holding employer stock.
Provisions of the reporting relief, aimed at giving registrants additional time to complete audits during a period of unprecedented turmoil, include a 45-day extension to file Form 11-K, which would have otherwise been due between March 1 and July 1. The extension is subject to certain conditions that ascertain:
The registrant is unable to meet a filing deadline due to circumstances related to COVID-19
The registrant furnishes to the SEC a Form 8-K
Calendar year-end plans are due on June 30; therefore, as a result of the reporting relief, if the plan meets the conditions outlined above, Form 11-K would be eligible for an extension to August.
Registrants with Form 11-K filings are still required to file Form 5500 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Those filings are due seven months after the plan’s year-end, with availability to extend for an additional two-and-a-half months. The IRS has not granted an extension for Form 5500 filings.
Separately, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is giving auditing firms up to 45 days of relief from inspections and will resume inspections on May 11.
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