Automatic Deadline Extensions Now Available for Affordable Care Act Information Reports

Automatic Deadline Extensions Now Available for Affordable Care Act Information Reports

For the first time, all applicable large employers must comply with the Affordable Care Act’s annual healthcare reporting requirements. Employers that averaged at least 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees in 2014 must report specific 2015 healthcare information to the Internal Revenue Service. Reports for the calendar year 2015 are due in early 2016, so time is running out. Or is it?

The IRS recently amended Form 8809–Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns–so applicable large employers can now request an automatic 30-day extension to file the following forms with the IRS:

  • Form 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage); and
  • Form 1094-C (Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns).

The deadline to request an extension is the due date of the ACA form for which an extension is being requested. In other words, employers cannot request an extension after missing the original IRS filing deadline. For the calendar year 2015, the deadline to file Forms 1095-C and 1094-C with the IRS is February 29, 2016 (March 31st if filed electronically), so this is also the deadline to request an IRS filing extension. To avoid missing the deadline, employers should request an extension as soon as they realize more time is needed.

However, Form 8809 only extends IRS filing deadlines, not deadlines to furnish copies to recipients. Applicable large employers must furnish the calendar year 2015 Form 1095-C to each full-time employee by February 1, 2016. Form 8809 cannot be used to extend this deadline. Instead, employers must request an extension by submitting a letter to the IRS. These extension requests are not automatically approved and must include an explanation.

There are other nuances to requesting an IRS filing extension, such as:

  • Form 8809 can be filed on paper, online or electronically through the IRS’s FIRE system.
  • No explanation is necessary.
  • The automatic extension is 30 days from the original due date.
  • Employers may request a second 30-day extension before the end of the first extension period by submitting a second Form 8809; however, these requests are not automatically granted and generally require a showing of extenuating circumstances.

IRS previously stated that employers making a good faith effort to comply with the ACA’s information reporting requirements for the calendar year 2015 will not be penalized for incomplete or incorrect information reports filed with the IRS or furnished to employees in 2016. However, employers will not be able to show a good faith effort if they fail to timely file information returns with the IRS or furnish statements to employees. Though incorrect reports may be forgiven by the IRS, late reports will not.

In addition to other valuable resources, Setnor Byer Insurance &Risk has an online tool to help clients complete their ACA information reports. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how we can help you navigate the constantly changing healthcare landscape, please contact us.

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