Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) granted a reprieve of sorts with respect to the 2015 information reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under the ACA, an “applicable large employer” (generally, an employer with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees) is required to file and furnish annual information returns and statements relating to the health plan coverage that the employer offers (or does not offer) to its full-time employees.1 Substantial penalties may apply for the failure to satisfy these filing and reporting requirements.
While the deadline for the first round of required filings and information statements was delayed in previous guidance, the IRS has again extended the deadlines for these important requirements as they apply to applicable large employers and health plan coverage in 2015:
The due date for furnishing the 2015 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage (generally, by insurers) or the 2015 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage (generally, by self-funded plans) to plan participants has been delayed from January 31, 2016, to March 31, 2016.2
The due date for filing the 2015 Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and the 2015 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage (generally, by insurers); or the 2015 Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and the 2015 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage (generally, by self-funded plans) with the IRS has been extended from February 29, 2016, to May 31, 2016. (Electronic filers will now have until June 30, 2016.)
Despite these extensions, employers are still encouraged to complete the required reports as soon as possible so that employees might receive Form 1095-B or 1095-C in time to file their 2015 tax returns. Regardless, the announced delays should be welcome news for applicable large employers who must comply with the filing and reporting requirements. This is especially the case since satisfaction of the requirements entails considerable attention to accounting. Employers who have not yet started need to take immediate action, even with the newly announced deadline delays. All employers should note that the reporting and filing requirements apply to applicable large employers for 2015 even if, under applicable transitional relief, the employer was not required to make an offer of minimum essential coverage to full-time employees until January 1, 2016 or later .