Prepare for ACA Reporting or Suffer Possible Fines
Even though there are clouds of uncertainty hanging over the Affordable Care Act, applicable large employers are still required to adhere to the IRS filing and reporting regulations or risk financial penalties.
While most of the reporting deadlines will be the same for 2017, the deadlines for distributing forms to employees have changed.
All employers that had 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees in 2015 would be considered applicable large employers under the ACA for 2016, meaning they would be required to report in 2017 on offers and the provision of health insurance coverage during the past year.
Even if an applicable large employer didn’t offer health coverage to employees, it is still required to report.
The deadline change
The IRS scrapped the Jan. 31 deadline for distributing Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to employees, as it had found that many employers needed more time to gather and analyze the information required to prepare the forms.
Here’s what you need to know:
• The deadline for distributing Form 1095-B and Form 1095-C is deferred to March 2, 2017 from Jan. 31. The form must be addressed and mailed, or distributed by hand, on or before the due date.
• Any extension requests that employers have filed for providing the forms will be void.
• This extension applies for tax year 2016 only, and does not require the submission of any request or other documentation to the IRS.
The IRS deadlines
The deadlines for reporting for coverage year 2016 are as follows:
• Deadline to file paper forms with the IRS is Feb. 28.
• Deadline to file electronically with the IRS is March 31.
Employers can obtain a 30-day extension of the time to file forms to the IRS by completing Form 8809 – Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns. This form must be filed in advance of the due date for the returns.
As soon as you feel you can’t report on time, you should file for the extension as they are not automatically approved.
Extension filing instructions can be found on page six of the instructions for the forms.
Penalties for not reporting
The IRS considered the reporting period of the start of 2016 as a warm-up and was lenient with companies that didn’t file. But this year promises to be different, and it’s important that you meet the deadlines or face sizeable fines.
Here’s what you can expect:
• $260 per return for failing to file correct information.
• $260 for each failure to provide a correct payee statement.
• There are limits to the size of the penalties unless there is “intentional disregard” to file and furnish the required statements.
The IRS may waive penalties due to reasonable cause. But if you plead ignorance, that likely won’t be good enough.