This summer the IRS and Treasury Department announced a delay in the information reporting requirements under Sections 6055 and 6056 of the ACA until 2015, allowing them the time needed to publish proposed rules for these Sections, as well as for the 60-day comment period following publication. The proposed rules were released last month and are available for public comment through November 8th.

Seeking to address comments received earlier in the process, the proposed rules contain options that may streamline the reporting process and require providing only the information necessary for individuals to prepare their tax returns and for the IRS to administer ACA provisions. Proposed revisions to the rules include:
  • Allowing W-2 reporting of employer-sponsored health plan offerings through the use of indicator codes, rather than providing a separate Section 6056 statement to employees,
  • An option for self-insured plans to issue a single statement instead of requiring separate statements for Sections 6055 and 6056,
  • Requiring the reporting of actual employee costs only if a specific dollar amount is exceeded, and
  • Eliminating the need to determine the full-time status for employees as long as sufficient coverage is offered to all potential full-time staff.
The delay in the information reporting requirements has resulted in a related postponement to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions under Section 4980H(a), (aka "pay or play"), given that any assessments will rely largely on the information to be provided by employers under Section 6056.

BACKGROUND

Sections 6055 and 6056 of the ACA require insurers, self-funded plans and applicable large employers (50+ full time employees) to furnish certain details about their plans, including plan costs and who is covered by them. The information provided would in part be used by the IRS to determine whether an individual is eligible for premium tax credits for coverage received through the Exchange, as well as whether an applicable large employer has met the requirement to provide affordable, minimum value coverage to its eligible employees. While information reporting requirements have been postponed until 2015, the IRS and Treasury are encouraging covered entities to begin voluntary reporting for 2014 following publication of the final rules to provide the opportunity for "real world" testing before reporting becomes mandatory. Regardless of the final rules, calculations for determining coverage eligibility will be based on 2014 data so we recommend that affected employers begin looking at their data collection systems and working with their payroll vendors as soon as possible to ascertain whether they are able to provide the information needed to comply with the reporting requirements. Watch for the final IRS/Treasury rules to be published in early 2014. Click here for the Treasury Department press release on the proposed rules.