As the fifth anniversary of the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (as amended) fast approaches, employers continue to experience significant challenges in determining and meeting their obligations under its provisions. This is unsurprising, given that many of those obligations continue to evolve, as evidenced by the forms and accompanying instructions for reporting certain health coverage information for the 2014 taxable year finalised by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in February 2015. While reporting for the 2014 taxable year is purely voluntary, this update highlights for employers the broader relevance of the 2014 forms.
The 2014 forms consist of two sets of forms and accompanying instructions. The 'C-Series' forms are to be used by applicable large employers (ALEs). The 'B-Series' forms are to be used by non-ALE employers providing minimum essential coverage by means of a self-insured group health plan. Each series consists of a transmittal form to be provided to the IRS (Form 1094-C or 1094-B, as applicable) and an information return to be provided to individual taxpayers (Form 1095-C 1095-B, as applicable). The IRS has also issued Publication 5196 which provides an overview of the ALE reporting requirement.
Completion of the 2014 forms is purely voluntary and thus an individual decision that each employer must make. Employers may choose to:
- prepare 2014 forms but not submit them to the IRS;
- prepare 2014 forms and submit them to the IRS; or
- not prepare 2014 forms at all.
However, even employers that choose not to prepare 2014 forms at all may find it useful to review the 2014 forms early in 2015. While the forms and instructions for the 2015 taxable year may include revisions to the 2014 forms, the 2014 forms can nonetheless help employers to determine the information that they should collect in 2015 in order to complete the 2015 forms.
The 2014 forms contain important revisions to the previously issued drafts. They include:
- simplified reporting for certain ALEs with non-employees enrolled in their self-insured group health plans;
- new options for ALEs when counting their total number of employees; and
- clarification of certain rules applicable to 'authoritative transmittals'.
The available and preferred options for satisfying the applicable information reporting requirements will depend on an employer's specific facts.
For further information on this topic please contact Joanne C Youn at Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered by telephone (+1 202 862 5000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered website can be accessed at www.capdale.com.
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