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September 21, 2005
Form 5500 Deadlines Extended for Katrina-Zone Businesses

The filing deadline for Form 5500 and Form 5500 EZ Annual Report/Return has been extended to January 6, 2006, for employee benefit plans affected by Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Department of Labor says.

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The extension applies to 64 parishes in Louisiana, 83 counties in Mississippi, 22 counties in Alabama, and 11 Florida counties. Under this relief, Form 5500 filings required to be filed between Aug. 29, 2005 and Jan, 3, 2006, are granted an extension until Jan. 3, 2006, according to the DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).

If the President declares additional counties eligible for individual or public assistance, this relief will also apply to them, the EBSA says.

The Form 5500 Annual Return/Report is used to satisfy the benefit plan reporting requirements of the DOL, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC).

The extension applies to plan administrators, employers and other entities located in the areas directly affected, as identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The extension also applies to firms located outside the affected areas who are unable to obtain the necessary information from service providers, banks, or insurance companies whose operations were directly affected by the hurricane.

Plan filers entitled to an extension of relief should check Part I, Box D on the Form 5500 or Part 1 on Form 5500-EZ and attach a statement to the form in accordance with the instructions, the EBSA advises.

For more information about disaster relief, contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-621-3362 or (202) 621-FEMA or the Internal Revenue Service at under "Disaster Area Tax Relief." Filers who have additional questions may contact EBSA's EFAST Help Line at 1-866-463-3278.

For background information on Form 5500, see the Welfare and Pension Reports regulatory analysis on

For information on how your business can participate in the recovery or prepare for a disaster, visit's Hurricane Relief & Resources Center.

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