`Fashionably Late’ ACA Filing May Be Unavailable to Employers


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Filing extensions may not be available to employers for the fast-approaching Affordable Care Act health coverage information reporting deadline.  

IRS representatives indicated during a Dec. 2 monthly payroll teleconference that penalty relief would not necessarily be granted for failure to file 2015 ACA returns just because filers don’t have sufficient electronic systems.

Penalty relief for failing to properly file 2015 ACA returns in 2016 was intended for those that made a good-faith effort to comply with the ACA and filed the forms, not those that were unable to file the forms, said Martin Pippins, director for customer service and stakeholder relations of the IRS's ACA office.

Employers must file the information returns to show that they did or did not offer coverage to their employers in 2015.  Applicable Large Employers must also submit a coverage statement to employees.  Employers who had 50 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees are considered ALEs.  

Information reporting includes Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, for ALEs and Forms 1094-B and 1095-B, for employers that are self-insured but not ALEs. The forms are due to the IRS Feb. 29, 2016, if filed on paper and by March 31, 2016, if filed electronically. Form 1095-C is due to employees by Feb. 1, 2016.

The IRS has released guidance relating to information returns, in preparation of the first required filing in 2016:

  • On Dec. 2, the IRS posted two publications for developing and testing systems for electronically filing ACA returns: 5164, Test Package for Electronic Filers of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns (AIR), and 5165, Guide for Electronically Filing Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns for Software Developers and Transmitters.
  • In temporary and final regulations (T.D. 9730, RIN 1545-BM50) issued Aug. 13, the IRS said it will replace automatic extensions with one 30-day, nonautomatic extension of time for filing various information returns. Developed in an effort to curb tax return fraud, the new regulations will apply to ACA Forms 1094-C, 1095-B and 1095-C beginning in 2017.
  • Also published Aug. 13, IRS proposed rules (REG-132075-14, RIN 1545-BM49) incorporating the temporary regulations and seeking comments on whether any transitional considerations should be allowed for a category of forms or filers. In a Nov. 5 notice, the IRS extended the comment deadline to Jan. 11.

See related story, IRS May Not Grant Relief for Late ACA Form Filings.

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