Employers get first look at health insurance information reporting
Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, several key requirements for employers have been delayed, including reporting of health coverage offered to employees, known as Code Sec. 6056 reporting. As 2015 nears, and the prospects of further delay appear unlikely, employers and the IRS are preparing for the filing of these new information returns.
Three related provisions
Three provisions of the Affordable Care Act are closely related: the employer mandate for applicable large employers (ALEs), the Code Sec. 36B premium assistance tax credit and Code Sec. 6056 reporting. To administer the employer mandate and the Code Sec. 36 credit, the IRS must receive information from ALEs, such as the type of health coverage offered, if any, by the ALE, the number of employees, and the cost of coverage.
Who must report?
Not all employers must report under Code Sec. 6056. The most important exception is for employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees. These smaller employers are exempt—at all times—from Code Sec. 6056 reporting and the employer mandate.
For 2015, there is also a temporary exemption for some ALEs from the employer mandate only. ALEs are employers that employ on average at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalents but fewer than 100 full-time employees including full-time equivalents. However, mid-size employers must file Code Sec. 6056 information returns for 2015. All other ALEs are subject to the employer mandate for 2015 as well as Code Sec. 6056.
What must be reported?
The IRS has posted draft forms for Code Sec. 6056 reporting on its website: Form 1094-C Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns and Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage. Draft Instructions for these forms are expected to be released in the near future.
ALEs generally must report:
- The employer's name, address, and employer identification number;
- The calendar year for which information is being reported;
- A certification as to whether the employer offered to its full-time employees and their dependents the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an employer-sponsored plan;
- The number, address and Social Security/taxpayer identification number of all full-time employees;
- The number of full-time employees eligible for coverage under the employer's plan; and
- The employee's share of the lowest cost monthly premium for self-only coverage providing minimum value offered to that full-time employee.
Under IRS regulations, Code Sec. 6056 reporting is optional for 2014. Reporting for 2015 is required. Information returns must be filed no later than March 1, 2016 (February 28, 2016, being a Sunday), or March 31, 2016, if filed electronically.
The IRS has provided ALEs with simplified methods of reporting. Employers that provide a "qualifying offer" to any of their full-time employees may be eligible as are employers that offer coverage to a certain percentage of employees. For more details about the simplified method, please contact our office.
Employers that self-insure
The Affordable Care Act also requires every health insurance issuer, sponsor of a self-insured health plan, government agency that administers government-sponsored health insurance programs, and other entities that provide minimum essential coverage to file information returns. This is known as "Code Sec. 6055 reporting." The IRS has posted draft versions of Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1095-B, Health Coverage on its website.
Employers that self-insure have a streamlined way to report for purposes of Code Sec. 6055 reporting and Code Sec. 6056 reporting. The top half of Form 1095-C includes information needed for Code Sec. 6056 reporting; the bottom half includes information needed for Code Sec. 6055 reporting.
If you have any questions about Code Sec. 6056 reporting, please contact our office.
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