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Extensions will be available for certain ACA information reporting deadlines

On the July 2 payroll industry telephone conference call, IRS said that employers will be able to request an extension of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) filing deadlines for: (a) filing information returns with the IRS, and (b) furnishing ACA statements to payees.

Background. Code Sec. 6055(a) generally requires every health insurance issuer, sponsor of a self-insured health plan, government agency that administers government-sponsored health insurance programs, and other entity that provides “minimum essential coverage” (defined in Code Sec. 5000A(f)) to file annual returns reporting information for each individual for whom such coverage is provided. An entity filing an information return reporting minimum essential coverage must also furnish a written statement to each individual listed on the return that shows the information that must be reported to IRS for that individual. (Code Sec. 6055(c)(1)) The purpose of this reporting is to allow taxpayers to establish, and IRS to verify, that the taxpayers were covered by MEC and their months of enrollment during a calendar year.

Reporting entities subject to Code Sec. 6055’s requirements use Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, or another form that IRS designates, to report minimum essential coverage.

Code Sec. 6056 requires annual information reporting by applicable large employers (as defined in Code Sec. 4980H; in general, employers that employed an average of at least 50 “full-time employees” during the preceding calendar year) relating to the health insurance that the employer offers (or does not offer) to its full-time employees. Code Sec. 6056 also requires those employers to furnish related statements to their employees. The information that the employers report allows IRS to administer the Code Sec. 4980H employer shared responsibility provisions and allows their employees to determine whether, for each month of the calendar year, they may claim on their individual tax returns a Code Sec. 36B premium tax credit.

Employers meet the Code Sec. 6056 requirements by filing Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and a Form 1095-C, Employer Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, or other form(s) designated by IRS, or a substitute form. Each Form 1095-C and the transmittal Form 1094-C together constitute a Code Sec. 6056 information return required to be filed with IRS. (Reg. § 301.6056-1(c)(1))

These reporting requirements were initially scheduled to go into effect beginning with the 2014 coverage year, but IRS provided transitional relief and postponed them until 2015 (see Weekly Alert ¶  4  07/18/2013).

Many employers will have to furnish Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C to employees, beginning with the 2015 tax year, by Feb. 1, 2016. The filing deadline for all of the above forms with IRS is Mar. 1, 2016 (Feb. 28, 2016, being a Sunday) or Mar. 31, 2016, if filing electronically.

Extension requests. An IRS spokesperson stated on the July 2 conference call that the forms that can be extended include: (1) Form 1094-C, (2) Form 1095-C, (3) Form 1094-B, and (4) Form 1095-B.

Employers will be able to request an extension of the information return filing deadline with IRS on Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time To File Information Returns. This form is already used to request an extension of the filing deadline for Forms W-2 and 1099. IRS is currently revising the form to include boxes that can be checked for ACA information returns. IRS regs allow filers to request an automatic 30-day extension of the information return filing deadline on Form 8809, and an additional 30-day extension if: (i) the first automatic 30-day extension was granted by IRS, and (ii) the additional extension is filed before the expiration of the automatic 30-day extension.

The extension of the deadline to furnish the ACA forms to employees will be noted in an upcoming revision to IRS Pub 1220, Specifications for Electronic Filing of Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, and W-2G. This extension is requested by submitting a letter to IRS that contains certain information. These requests are not automatically approved. An extension of the deadline that is approved will allow for a maximum of 30 additional days from the original due date.

References: For return requirements for providers of minimum essential coverage, see FTC 2d/FIN ¶  S-3321  et seq.; United States Tax Reporter ¶  60,554  ; TaxDesk ¶  812,314  et seq.; TG ¶  60245  . For return requirements for “applicable large employers,” see FTC 2d/FIN ¶  S-3331  ; United States Tax Reporter ¶  60,564.01  ; TaxDesk ¶  816,301  ; TG ¶  60246  .


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