The due date for businesses and health coverage providers to meet certain 2016 information-reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act has been extended 30 days by the IRS.
The reason? “Following consultation with stakeholders, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS have determined that a substantial number of employers, insurers, and other providers of minimum essential coverage need additional time beyond the Jan. 31, 2017, due date to gather and analyze the information and prepare the 2016 forms 1095-B and 1095-C to be furnished to individuals,” the notice states.
Employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees that offer health coverage, as well as health coverage providers, send Form 1095-B to members of their health insurance plans. The form indicates whether the taxpayer, spouse, and dependents had qualifying health coverage (minimum essential coverage) for some or all months during the year. Individuals with minimum essential coverage are not subject to the individual shared responsibility payment.
Despite the extension, the IRS urges employers and other coverage providers to send these forms to individuals as soon as possible.
“Because of the extension granted under this notice, some individual taxpayers may not receive a Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C by the time they are ready to file their 2016 tax return. Taxpayers 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,” the IRS says. “Taxpayers do not need to wait to receive forms 1095-B and 1095-C before filing their returns. Individuals need not send the information relied upon to the IRS when filing their returns, but should keep it with their tax records.”
However, the IRS “determined there is no similar need” for extending the deadline for filing Form 1095-B and Form 1095-C with the agency. The filing deadline also remains the same for Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns.
These returns must be filed with the IRS by Feb. 28, 2017, if not filed electronically, or March 31, 2017, if filed electronically.
The IRS also indicated that it will extend transition relief from penalties under Code Section 6721 and Section 6722 to reporting entities that have made “good-faith efforts” to comply with the 2016 information-reporting requirements.
“In determining good faith, the IRS will take into account whether an employer or other coverage provider made reasonable efforts to prepare for reporting the required information to the IRS and furnishing it to employees and covered individuals, such as gathering and transmitting the necessary data to an agent to prepare the data for submission to the IRS, or testing its ability to transmit information to the IRS,” the notice states. “In addition, the IRS will take into account the extent to which the employer or other coverage provider is taking steps to ensure that it will be able to comply with the reporting requirements for 2017.”