By: Brent S. Kirwan, Esq.
Starting with tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, the tax return due dates for the vast majority of annual tax returns were changed through a seemingly unrelated piece of legislation, H.R. 3236, Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015, known as the Highway Funding Bill. The Highway Funding Bill changed the filing deadlines for partnerships, C corporations, certain tax-exempt entities, estates and trusts, and individuals filing FinCen Report 114. These changes apply to tax years 2016 and beyond, first affecting the related filing deadlines in 2017.
One exception to these changes is that C corporations with a fiscal year ending on June 30 will not have to implement the changes until the filing of returns for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2026.
The Highway Funding Bill also temporarily extended the due date for employee benefit plans filing Form 5500. The change increased the extension period from two and one-half months to three and one-half months past the original filing due date; however, this was quickly repealed by H.R. 22, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, known as the FAST Act. Following passage of the FAST Act on December 4, 2015, Form 5500 remains due 210 days after the close of the plan year and may be extended, either by filing Form 5558 for a two and one-half month extension, or by taking advantage of an automatic extension until the fully extended due date of the plan sponsor’s federal income tax return.
Prior to the passage of the Highway Funding Bill, employee benefit plans would generally file for the two and one-half month extension because this would extend their Form 5500 filing due date longer than the extensions available for plan sponsors. However, due to the change in due dates for plan sponsors, many employee benefit plans will no longer need to file their own extension, but will rely on the more generous plan sponsor extension.
The changes, based on a calendar year taxpayer, are summarized below with new due dates in bold:
|Return Type .||Revised Due Dates||Previous Due Dates||Comments|
|Original .||Extended .||Original .||Extended .|
|Form 1065||March 15||September 15||April 15||September 15||Original due date is 1-month earlier; extension now six months|
|Form 1120||April 15||October 15||March 15||September 15||For June 30 fiscal year filers, change goes into effect beginning January 1, 2026|
|Form 990||May 15||November 15||May 15||August 15||Single filing to secure a six-month extension, eliminating two 3-month extensions|
|Estates & Trusts|
|Form 1041||April 15||September 30||April 15||September 15||Change in extension length only|
|Report 114||April 15||October 15||June 30||N/A||Original deadline is 2 1/2 months earlier; new extension allowed|
Brent S. Kirwan is an Associate in Leech Tishman’s Corporate, Estates & Trusts, and Taxation Practice Groups. Brent is based in the Pittsburgh office and can be reached at 412.261.1600 or email@example.com.
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