The IRS recently released three different sets of guidance related to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Forms 1094/95 – B/C filing requirement:

1. For the 2015 tax year (filed in 2016), the filing deadline is delayed, providing employers, issuers and offerors of Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) additional time to file these forms with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and covered individuals. This delay is automatic.

2. For the 2016 tax year (filed in 2017) and beyond, extensions are available to filers of Forms 1094/95 – C, allowing an additional month to file these forms with the IRS. This extension is available upon filing Form 8809.

3. For the 2016 tax year and beyond, a waiver of the mandate to file electronically for employers issuing 250 or more Forms 1095 – C is available upon filing Form 8508.

For more details, see below.

Forms 1094/95 - B/C Filing Deadline Delay

(1) Furnishing to individuals the 2015 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and the 2015 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage. Deadline moved from February 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016 (this deadline will be January 31 in future years); and,

(2) Filing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the 2015 Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, the 2015 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, the 2015 Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and the 2015 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage. Deadline moved from February 29, 2016, to May 31, 2016 (this deadline will be February 28 in future years), if not filing electronically, and from March 31, 2016, to June 30, 2016 if filing electronically (this deadline will be March 31 in future years).

Employers need not take action to benefit from the delay in reporting for the 2015 tax year, reported in 2016. In future years, an extension of the filing deadline with the IRS is available by filing Form 8809. You may file Form 8809 using paper, or online using the Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system, not the AIR system used for filing Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. Specifications are available in Part B of IRS Publication 1220, “Specifications for Filing of Forms 1097, 1098, 1099,3921, 3922, 5498 and W-2G.’” Also in future years, a waiver from the electronic filing mandate may be available by filing Form 8508.

For complete details, see:

IRS Form 8508
IRS Form 8809
Publication 1220

IRS Guidance Notice 2016-4

IRS Questions and Answers on Employer Reporting

Extensions

For reporting after early 2016, ACA reporting rules will require an employer to provide Form 1095-C to employees and to file Form 1094–C by the original, specific deadlines. For those future years, starting with filings due in early 2017, the IRS allows two minor extensions for the 1094-C filing with the IRS, but not for the 1095-C deadline. (This extension process is not available for filings in early 2016 because it is not necessary; the IRS delayed all Q1 2016 filings as well as the employee reporting.) So, starting in Q1 2017, employers may request an extension of time from the IRS using Form 8809 “Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns.” Form 8809 is due by the deadline for filing Forms 1094–C. The deadline for making the request is February 28 if filing on paper, and March 31 for electronic filings. These are the filing deadlines irrespective of the employer’s plan year. An automatic 30-day extension will be granted. No explanation or signature is required.

Wait, there’s more! A second extension is also available beginning in 2017 (for the 2016 tax year). By submitting another Form 8809 before the first extension expires, the IRS may provide another extension of up to 30 days. Here’s the catch: the request for the second extension must include a detailed description of why the second extension is needed. The second extension will only be granted when extenuating circumstances make filing the Form 1094–C by the end of the first extension impossible.

Other Notable Items Regarding Reporting and Extensions

  • You must wait to request an extension until January 1. The delay in reporting deadlines did not include a change to this rule.
  • Form 8809 extensions are unavailable in 2016 for the 2015 tax year due to the above-stated delay in the reporting deadline.
  • Individuals not receiving a 2015 Form 1095 – B/C before filing their income taxes do not need to use these forms to file their taxes. They may file without these forms and retain the 1095 – B/C (when they receive it) for their records. There is no need to amend their tax filing upon receipt of these forms.
  • Original deadlines apply to furnishing Form 1095–C to employees.
    • Form 1095 –C is due to be distributed to employees by March 31, 2016 (January 31 in years after 2016).
    • Statements are considered timely furnished if properly addressed and mailed (postmarked) the deadline.
  • A second extension is possible, but the second extension is not automatic.
    • A second hardship extension request can be submitted on or before the due date by sending a detailed letter to the IRS explaining the reasons for the request.

The letter must include the filer’s name and taxpayer identification number, type of return, a statement that the extension request is for providing statements to recipients, the reason for the delay and the signature of the filer or authorized agent.

Send the application to: Internal Revenue Service Information Returns Branch, Attn: Extension of Time Coordinator 240 Murall Drive, mail Stop 4360 Kearneysville, WV 25430

Waiver Request Offers Relief from Filing 1094-C Electronically

An employer that is required to file Form 1094-C electronically (because it will be completing more than 250 of Forms 1095-C) can request leeway to file using paper instead, by submitting IRS Form 8508, “Request for Waiver from Filing Information Returns Electronically.” The request must be made at least 45 days prior to the March 31 deadline (so by February 14, 2016). A delay, if granted, only applies for that year; if allowed in future years, you must make a subsequent request annually. You also may request a waiver to file corrected returns using paper instead of electronic transmission.

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