PPACA Reporting Deadline Is Extended

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

Because a substantial number of employers, insurers, and other providers of health coverage need more time to gather and analyze the information they need to prepare certain health care information returns required to be filed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, the IRS announced extended due dates for those forms (Notice 2016-70). The due date to send individuals the 2016 Form 1095-B,Health Coverage, and the 2016 Form 1095-C,Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, is extended to March 2, 2017, from Jan. 31, 2017. Because the IRS is extending the due date, the normal provisions for requesting extended due dates for providing these forms to individuals will not apply.

However, the IRS has determined that there is no need for an extension of time for filing those forms with the IRS, or for the 2016 Form 1094-B,Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1094-C,Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns.Those returns must be filed with the IRS by Feb. 28, 2017, if not filing electronically, and by March 31, 2017, if filing electronically. Automatic extensions and additional extensions to file these returns with the IRS are available.

Sec. 6055 requires health insurance issuers, self-insuring employers, government agencies, and other providers of minimum essential coverage to file annual information returns about coverage provided. Sec. 6056 requires applicable large employers (employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents, in the previous year) to file annual information returns about the health insurance the employer does or does not offer to its full-time employees.

The IRS also encouraged employers who cannot meet the relevant due dates for furnishing and filing the returns to still furnish and file. The IRS said it will take late furnishing and filing into consideration when determining whether penalties under Secs. 6721 or 6722 for failing to file or furnish the returns should be abated for reasonable cause.

The extended due dates for information returns required to be furnished to individual taxpayers may make it difficult for employees who may not receive the information in time to file their returns. The notice states that taxpayers therefore may rely on other information received from their employer or other coverage provider for purposes of filing their returns, including determining eligibility for the premium tax credit and confirming that they had minimum essential coverage, and they do not need to wait to receive Forms 1095-B and 1095-C before filing their returns. Individuals need not send the information they relied upon to the IRS when filing their returns but should keep it with their tax records.

The IRS is also extending its relief from penalties under Secs. 6721 and 6722 for taxpayers that have made good-faith efforts to comply with the 2016 reporting requirements (both for furnishing to individuals and for filing with the IRS) for incorrect or incomplete information reported on a return or statement.

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