Are you hoping that ACA will just go away — probably a bad idea. If you are not already prepared for the upcoming filings, you may want to start working on it pronto! Good news — the IRS has extended the deadline for providing 1095 forms to employees for the 2016 tax season.  Mark your calendars – the new date is March 2, 2017.

Here are some other important dates and activities that you should be aware of:

  • The IRS will begin levying fines in December for the 2015 tax season;
  • Subsidy notifications will increase in February (giving you about 30 days to respond by the time you receive the notification);
  • The 1095 forms will be due to employees by March 2;
  • And the 1094 will be due to the IRS March 31

A few more deets:

  •  Regardless of the election, ACA reporting deadlines and penalties are still very much a reality – employers must continue business as usual and comply with the reporting requirements or face a penalty. Employers that choose to ignore the reporting requirements are viewed as having a “willful disregard” for the requirements and are subject to a fine of $530 for each 1095-C they fail to deliver, uncapped. (YIKES!)
  • Because employers have been given an extension for sending 1095 forms to employees, the IRS will likely be less lenient on assessing fines for late forms. (YIKES!)
  • The funding mechanism for the premium tax credits (which cost the government $1.4T in 2015 and 2016 combined) is the penalties which the government determines in part through the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. Therefore, the ACA reporting by employers through the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C is necessary to determine which employers owe a penalty to fund the premium tax credits.
  • It is unlikely that immediate changes will or can be made to ACA before reporting deadlines. (so dude, if you’ve been putting it off, just do it!)

And here are a couple of other things to put into perspective

  • The new Administration will likely need to have  a replacement for the ACA before they can repeal it, and there is not replacement plan in place, which would likely take years to develop and implement. Even if they want to roll back to “pre-ACA” I think that might be hard to do since there are people who have enrolled and are using the exchanges — at any rate, they need a plan and have time to execute and administer it.
  • The president cannot unilaterally repeal the ACA, it requires Congressional approval.

So my two cents, and that’s really all its worth: if you have waited until the last minute to get this started and in place hoping that it would just all go away — you may get your wish, but not likely before the IRS deadlines 😦  I’d recommend finding a consultant to partner with who can help you get up to speed quickly — it might cost you, but I don’t think that you want to pay the IRS fines instead.

Making the HR connection, yours,