The Department of Treasury recently announced that the Obama Administration is implementing a one-year delay in the implementation of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 ("ACA"), including the information reporting requirements for large employers under Sec. 6056, as well as a one-year delay in the employer shared responsibilities "pay-to-play" penalties under Sec. 4980H. This transition relief is intended to provide the Administration an opportunity to refine the reporting requirements, as well as give employers additional time to adapt their health coverage and reporting systems.
What is delayed? First, the mandatory reporting of health coverage information by large employers under Sec. 6056 is delayed until January 15, 2015. The Administration is expected to release more detailed reporting requirements later this summer. However, these reporting requirements are integral in determining which employers owe shared responsibility payments under Sec. 4980H and, therefore, the assessment of penalties from an employer's failure to offer adequate health coverage. Accordingly, the "pay-or-play" rules is also delayed until January 1, 2015. While employers may view the delay as a welcome relief, employers are encouraged to use this additional time to develop and refine their compliance strategies.
Finally, the one-year delay in the implementation of the information reporting and the employer shared responsibilities provisions does not affect the effective dates or application of the other ACA provisions.
In that regard, the IRS just released Notice 2013-45, which details its thinking about these delays. We will provide further updates as information becomes available.