What Businesses Need to Know About New ACA Reporting Requirements

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At the end of 2015, the IRS and U.S. Treasury Department issued extensions on the due dates for Form 1095 reporting, which requires employers to furnish statements to employees on their healthcare plan coverage. This could potentially impact companies with late fees due to the new reporting requirements, so business owners need to know about their responsibilities.

The first of these new deadlines comes at the end of this month, so time is shorter than you may think.

This is a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), sometimes referred to as Obamacare, that goes into effect for the first time in 2016. Employers are required to provide the form to employees in written form by a date certain, and also file this form with the IRS, either electronically or by hard copy.

This applies to all employers with 50 or more full-time (or equivalent) employees during calendar year 2015, or are members of a controlled or affiliated service group that collectively has at least 50 full-time employees. It also applies to any size company that offers employer-sponsored self-insured healthcare coverage.

Because this is the first year they’re mandated to file, many businesses may not be aware of their reporting obligations, which are complex and may be confusing. We highly recommend that companies familiarize themselves with the new requirements, and consult with a financial expert as needed.

The deadline for providing form 1095-B or Form 1095-C to employees has been moved from Feb. 1 to March 31. For businesses filing electronically – either Form 1095-B, 1095-C, 1094-B or 1094-C -- the deadline has been delayed from March 31 until June 30. For those businesses not filing electronically, the new deadline is May 31 (from Feb. 29).

The extended due dates could make it difficult for employees who may not receive the information in time to file their individual returns. The IRS is providing relief to these taxpayers by eliminating any requirement that they file amended returns, if they receive their Form 1095 after they have filed their own return. They should still retain the statement with their tax information.

As a result of these extensions for information returns, the normal provisions for requesting extended due dates for these forms will not apply. If an employer cannot meet the extended due dates, the IRS encourages them to file the returns anyway, and will take into account any reasonable attempts to comply -- in determining whether to abate penalties.

Due to the complexity of these new requirements and the adjusted due dates, employers should be aware of their responsibilities under ACA so they are not subjected to any fines that could have easily been avoided. The IRS forms should only be prepared by someone knowledgeable with compliance and reporting aspects of the ACA requirements.

This is an area where expert advice is called for in order to comply with the new requirements and ensure the IRS a good-faith effort has been made to comply with them. Otherwise, penalties could draw from your company’s bottom line. Now is the time to call upon your internal accounting department or advisers for help.

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