The IRS has released drafts of the forms and instructions that employers will use for 2017 reporting under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is expected that when the IRS releases final versions, the material will be virtually identical to the drafts.
Applicable large employers (ALEs) will use the following:
- Draft 2017 Form 1094-C (transmittal to IRS).
- Draft 2017 Form 1095-C (statement to individual).
- Draft 2017 Instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C (instructions).
Employers that self-fund a minimum essential coverage plan will use the following:
- Draft 2017 Form 1094-B (transmittal to IRS).
- Draft 2017 Form 1095-B (statement to individual).
- Draft 2017 Instructions for Forms 1094-B and 1095-B (instructions).
Applicable large employers (ALEs), who generally are entities that employed 50 or more full-time and full-time-equivalent employees in the prior year, are required to report information about the health coverage they offer or do not offer to certain employees. To meet this reporting requirement, the ALE furnishes Form 1095-C to the employee or former employee and files copies, along with transmittal Form 1094-C, with the IRS.
Employers, regardless of size, that sponsor a self-funded (self-insured) health plan providing minimum essential coverage are required to report coverage information about enrollees. To meet this reporting requirement, the employer furnishes Form 1095-B to the primary enrollee and files copies, along with transmittal Form 1094-B, with the IRS. Self-funded employers who also are ALEs may use Forms 1095-C and 1094-C in lieu of Forms 1095-B and 1094-B.
Information is reported on a calendar-year basis regardless of the employer’s health plan year or fiscal year.
Changes for 2017
The 2017 forms and instructions are similar to the 2016 materials, although there are some changes for items that no longer apply or to simplify or clarify the information. Some of the changes include:
- Removing references to transition relief options that are no longer available to ALEs.
- Confirming the multiemployer interim relief rule remains in place for ALEs that contribute to a multiemployer plan (e.g., union trust).
- Updating references for items that have been adjusted for inflation, such as the affordability percentage (9.69 percent for 2017).
- Adding a note in the instructions for Form 1095-C, line 16, stating that “There is no specific code to enter on line 16 to indicate that a full-time employee offered coverage either did not enroll in the coverage or waived the coverage.”
In general, the forms and instructions are very similar to the versions used last year. Since the reporting requirements have been in place for several years now, employers and their advisors should have little trouble in working with the new materials for 2017.
The due date to furnish 2017 forms to individuals is January 31, 2018, while the due date to file copies with the IRS, including the appropriate transmittal form, will depend on whether the employer files electronically or by paper. Entities that provide 250 or more forms to individuals are required to file electronically with the IRS.
The due dates for 2017 reporting are:
- January 31, 2018: Deadline to furnish 2017 Form 1095-C (or 1095-B, if applicable) to employees and individuals.
- February 28, 2018: Deadline for paper filing of all 2017 Forms 1095-C and 1095-B, along with transmittal form 1094-C or 1094-B, with the IRS.
- April 2, 2018: Deadline for electronic filing of all 2017 Forms 1095-C and 1095-B, along with transmittal form 1094-C or 1094-B, with the IRS. (April 2 is the first business day following the usual due date of March 31.)
Employers are encouraged to work with experienced vendors, tax advisors, and payroll administrators to review how the ACA reporting requirements apply to their situation. The required forms are important IRS documents and preparers should use the same level of care that would apply to employee W-2s.