Federal law requires employers to provide forms detailing health insurance coverage to their workers by January 31. As in previous years, some employers may have trouble complying due to the complexities of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Thankfully, the IRS has chosen to exercise some discretion by extending the deadline to March 2. Employers now have 30 more days to get the forms to their workers.
The IRS made the announcement via a publication issued on December 22, 2017. Notice IR-2017-209 states that “insurers, self-insuring employers, other coverage providers, and applicable large employers now have until March 2, 2018, to provide Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to individuals, which is a 30-day extension from the original due date of Jan 31.”
The notice goes on to explain that employees need the information furnished by the forms to prove they had health insurance for all of 2017. The information is also helpful in determining eligibility for the premium tax credit.
No Action Required
At BenefitMall in Dallas, they help clients maintain compliance with the ACA via record keeping and issuing the correct forms. They say that there is no need for employers to take any specific action – the extension is automatic. Having said that, there are two additional dates employers have to be concerned about:
- Paper filers must file ACA paperwork with the government by February 28; and
- Electronic filers have until April 2 to submit their data.
It is advisable that companies intending to wait until March 2 to furnish 1095-B and 1095-C forms let employees know. This is to say that employees don’t necessarily need those two forms in order to file their own tax returns. They can use other information about their health insurance plans to satisfy the IRS. Once forms are received, employees should store them with the rest of their tax records for their own protection.
Getting Ready for Next Year
The IRS notice is a reminder to employers that they will have to deal with the ACA’s individual mandate for one more year. Though the individual mandate was repealed with the GOP tax bill signed in December, that repeal does not go into effect until 2019. Everything remains the same for 2018.
The good news in all this is that companies have the next 11 months to figure out what they plan to do for 2019. Though employees will not be required to carry health insurance beyond the end of this year, decisions will still have to be made before open enrollment begins next fall. Companies should be prepared by knowing exactly what they plan to offer their employees by way of health coverage.
BenefitMall also points out that compliance is still an issue for the 2018 tax year. That means forms will still have to be filed in both 2018 and 2019, given that annual filings always apply to the previous calendar year. Any employer still having trouble with compliance would do well to seek out the services of a third-party payroll company like BenefitMall.
Healthcare Will Still Be Complicated
If we have learned anything from former President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, it is the fact that healthcare is a complicated enterprise. Even before the ACA was made law, employers have certain obligations in terms of deductions for health insurance, reporting those deductions, and making payments to health insurance plans. Things are not likely to get easier in the future.
If you need some extra time to issue 1095 forms this year, be thankful the IRS has granted an automatic 30-day extension. Don’t forget your other deadlines either.