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Employers are continually being reminded that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still intact and remains the law of the land. Final 2017 forms and instructions for reporting information to the IRS to assist with the enforcement of the individual and employer mandates under the ACA have been released by the IRS. This release serves as another reminder that employers should continue to comply with the ACA based on current guidance.
As a summary, Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 6056 requires applicable large employer members to report to the IRS about offers of, and enrollment in, health coverage for their full-time employees. The 1095-C form assists the IRS in determining an ALE’s compliance with the employer mandate and the eligibility of employees for the premium tax credit.
Under IRC section 6055 employers and insurers providing minimum essential coverage (MEC) are subject to reporting requirements which assist the IRS with enforcement of the individual mandate.
The deadline for furnishing the reports to employees/covered individuals is Jan. 31, 2018. The transmitting of information to the IRS is Feb. 28, 2018 for those filing paper copies of the reports. Electronic filers (those filing 250 or more forms, or electing to file electronically) must meet the reporting deadline by April 2, 2018, since the regular filing date of March 31 falls on a Saturday. These are the deadlines regardless of whether an employer’s plan is a fiscal or calendar plan year.
Minimal Form Changes
The 2017 final forms and instructions show minimal modifications and include the following:
• As transition relief is no longer available for ALEs in 2017, relief reference has been removed from Form 1094-C.
• Provided a safe harbor for de minimis errors when reporting the amount of an employee’s required contribution. If the amount reported is off by $100 or less, a corrected 1095-C is not required to avoid penalties, if the employer qualifies for use of the safe harbor.
• Noted that for 2017 reporting the “Plan Start Month” on Form 1095-C remains optional.
• Confirmed that a Series 2 code is not available for reporting an employee’s non-enrollment in health care coverage or waiving offered coverage on line 16 of Form 1095-C.
• Noted that there is no “good-faith compliance relief” in the instructions and provided the 2017 adjusted penalty amounts unless a waiver for reasonable cause is granted.
• Reminded that paper returns must be provided in landscape format.
Employers should familiarize themselves with the final forms as they being to plan for any 2017 reporting requirements. If using a vendor to assist with the forms, conversations should be conducted to see if any system requirements have changed and any responsibilities the employer may have for gathering and clarifying information. If an employer anticipates not being able to meet its requirement to provide the forms to full-time employees by Jan. 31, then it should consider filing for an extension which is not automatically granted.