IRS/Treasury Provides One-Year Delay For Certain Employer Health Coverage Reporting And Employer “Pay Or Play” Penalty Taxes

by Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
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On July 9, 2013, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued formal guidance (IRS Notice 2013-45; herein, the “Notice”)1 that provides for a one year delay until 2015 with respect to (i) certain information reporting requirements imposed on employers and others that provide health coverage to employees and (ii) the assessment of excise tax penalties on certain employers under the employer “pay or play” mandate (also known, more formally, as the “employer shared responsibility penalty”).2 Prior to the announcement of this one year delay, such information reporting and employer penalty rules were scheduled to apply in 2014. Accordingly, employers will now have more time to develop appropriate recordkeeping and reporting systems in order to comply with the reporting requirements in 2015, and to review and, as appropriate, modify their health plans to avoid employer shared responsibility penalties that are scheduled to begin in 2015.

Employer Shared Responsibility Penalty Reporting -

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended (“ACA”), each employer subject to the employer shared responsibility penalty rules (i.e., an employer that employs an average of at least 50 full-time employees, including “full-time equivalent employees,” on business days during the preceding calendar year (known as an “applicable large employer”)) is required to file an annual return with the IRS that reports the terms and conditions of the health care coverage provided to the employer’s full-time employees for the year. The information reported includes whether the employer offers its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential health coverage under an employer-sponsored plan and, if it does, the length of any eligibility waiting period, the months during the calendar year when coverage under the plan was available, the monthly premium for the lowest cost option in each coverage category under the plan, employer’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan, and for each full-time employee the months during which the full- time employee (or any dependents) were covered under the employer-sponsored plan. Further, applicable large employers will need to furnish to each full-time employee whose information is required to be reported to the IRS by such employer a written statement that includes the employer’s contact information and information relating to health plan coverage provided to the particular employee (and his/her dependents) that is required to be reported in the report to the IRS.

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