IRS Extends Deadlines for Filing 2015 ACA Forms, Prevents Additional Filing Extensions

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By Howard Perlman

Some Affordable Care Act reporting deadlines were extended Dec. 28 by the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service to help employers and payroll service providers fulfill the requirements.

Employers now have until March 31, 2016, two months past the original Feb. 1 deadline, to provide employees with their copy of the 2015 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, and 2015 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, the IRS said in Notice 2016-4.

Employers filing paper 2015 Forms 1095-C and 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, have until May 31, 2016, three months past the original Feb. 29 deadline, to file with the IRS, the notice said. Employers electronically filing those forms have until to June 30, 2016, three months past the original March 31 deadline, to file with the agency.

These changed deadlines also apply for 2015 Forms 1095-B and 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, filed in 2016, the notice said. The extended deadlines apply only for 2015 forms filed in 2016.

Employers filing electronically are to submit the forms to the IRS using the Affordable Care Act Information Returns (AIR) program.

The IRS has no plans to allow employers to seek extended due dates for filing the 2015 forms with the agency beyond the due dates established by Notice 2016-4.

Employers would not be able to use Form 8809, Request for Extension of Time to File Information Returns, to request an automatic 30-day extension or additional 30-day extension for paper filing beyond May 31, 2016, and for electronic filing beyond June 30, 2016.

Requests for extended ACA filing due dates that were submitted with Forms 8809 before the release of Notice 2016-4 and to which the IRS did not respond would not be formally acknowledged by the agency because the notice retroactively caused these requests to be redundant.

Some Relief From Penalties for Late Filing of ACA Forms

Penalties for failing to file the 2015 ACA forms by the extended due dates could be assessed by the IRS. However, employers that do not file the forms on time still should file them so the agency can take those actions into consideration when determining whether there was reasonable cause for the late filing, the notice said.

Reductions in penalties for failing to timely file the forms might be applicable for employers that “made reasonable efforts to prepare for reporting the required information to the service and furnishing it to employees and covered individuals,” the notice said.

The IRS also could consider the degree to which employers worked to gain the ability to timely file 2016 ACA forms when determining whether to reduce penalties for failing to timely file the 2015 ACA forms, the notice said.