With ACA reporting deadlines quickly approaching, many employers should be preparing to address the various reporting requirements in order to avoid the significant fines and penalties associated with non-compliance. As of January 2016, employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (Applicable Large Employers or ALEs) will be subject to several complex ACA reporting requirements.
In summary, ALEs must:
- Submit to both individual employees and the IRS detailed information for every full-time employee they have employed for at least one month during 2015,
- Disclose whether each full-time employee and his or her spouse and/or dependents were offered health coverage for each calendar month of 2015; and
- Provide information sourced from its personnel departments – including information that the employer may not have previously collected such as social security numbers of covered dependents.
Additionally, employers with self-insured group health plans will be required to identify each employee and/or spouse or dependent that was covered during each month of 2015, regardless of whether the employer is considered an ALE.
IRS Issues Final ACA Reporting Forms and Electronic Filing Guidance
On September 16, 2015, after issuing several rounds of draft versions, the IRS issued the final forms and instructions that employers will be required to use to satisfy the reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The IRS has also started releasing guidance regarding the new ACA Information Returns (AIR) system that may be used to file the new ACA reporting forms electronically. Employers filing 250 or more ACA reporting forms will be required to do so electronically using the AIR system. However, before employers can use the AIR system to electronically file their ACA reporting forms, they must register using the IRS’s Registration Services process. This process involves identifying their responsible official(s) and contacts and applying for a Transmitter Control Code (TCC). Once employers have registered and received their TCC in the mail, they will need to complete the AIR system’s trial submission and testing process. Given the complexity of the registration and testing processes, employers that will be required to file their ACA reporting returns through the AIR system are advised to begin the registration process as soon as possible.
Prepare Now, Comply on Time
The task of complying with the new ACA reporting requirements may seem daunting, but employers do not have to tackle the job alone.