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Deadlines Extended For ACA Information Reporting

In an effort to help employers subject to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) information reporting requirements meet those obligations, the IRS has extended two important deadlines. Employers now have an additional two months to provide employees Form 1095-B, “Health Coverage,” and Form 1095-C, “Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage.”

Employers have an additional three months to file the forms with the IRS. Reporting to the IRS is done by using Form 1094-C, “Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns,” and Form 1095-C, “Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage.”

Reporting requirements for ALEs

The ACA enacted Section 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), which requires all applicable large employers (ALEs) — generally those with at least 50 full-time employees or the equivalent — to report to the IRS information about what health care coverage, if any, they offered to full-time employees. Employers generally must report this information no later than February 28 — or March 31 if filed electronically — of the year following the calendar year to which the reporting relates.

Sec. 6056 also requires ALEs to furnish statements to employees that the employees can use to determine whether, for each month of the calendar year, they can claim a premium tax credit. The statements generally must be provided by January 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year to which the Sec. 6056 reporting relates.

Because of the deadline extension, however, for the 2015 calendar year, ALEs have until May 31, 2016, to file these information returns with the IRS (until June 30, 2016, if filing electronically). And they have until March 31, 2016, to furnish the employee statements.

Bear in mind that this reporting is required even if you don’t offer health insurance coverage. And employers with at least 50 but fewer than 100 full-time employees or the equivalent who are eligible for the transitional relief from the employer shared-responsibility provision for 2015 must still comply with the information reporting requirements.

Reporting requirements for self-insured and smaller employers

Sec. 6055 of the IRC, also enacted by the ACA, requires health care insurers, including self-insured employers, to report to the IRS about the type and period of coverage provided and to furnish this information to covered employees in statements. The IRS’s extensions also apply to these deadlines: The 2015 calendar year information now must be reported by May 31, 2016, or, if filed electronically, June 30, 2016. Employee statements must be provided by March 31, 2016.

Every self-insured employer must report information about all employees, their spouses and dependents who enroll in coverage under the reporting requirements for insurers. This reporting is required even for self-insureds not subject to the ACA’s employer shared-responsibility provisions or the ALE reporting requirements. Self-insured ALEs must comply with the insurer requirements in addition to the Sec. 6056 requirements.

Further, non-ALE employers must comply with the Sec. 6056 requirements if they’re members of a controlled group or treated as one employer for purposes of determining ALE status. The employers that compose such a controlled-group ALE are referred to as “ALE members,” and the reporting requirements apply separately to each member.

Penalties for noncompliance with reporting requirements

Failure to comply with the information reporting requirements may subject you to the general reporting penalty provisions. Penalties for information returns and payee (employee) statements filed after December 31, 2015, are as follows:

  • The penalty for failure to file an information return generally will be $250 for each return (up from $100), not to exceed a calendar-year total of $3 million (up from $1.5 million).
  • The penalty for failure to provide a correct payee statement will be $250 for each statement (up from $100), with a calendar-year maximum of $3 million (up from $1.5 million).

Special rules apply to increase the per-statement and total penalties in the case of intentional disregard of the requirement to furnish a payee statement. Also, taxpayers with average annual gross receipts of no more than $5 million for the three preceding tax years are subject to lower maximum penalty amounts.

Don’t procrastinate!

Even with the extensions provided by the IRS, now is the time for affected employers to begin assembling the necessary information for Forms 1094 and 1095. The compliance obligation will likely require a joint effort by the payroll, HR and benefits departments to collect the relevant data.

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