For years now, employers knew they’d soon have to start reporting their employee health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Then earlier this summer, some help: Draft forms were finally released of the information returns you and your finance staffers would have to use. Which is good considering that you need to start tracking coverage at the beginning of next year.
Only problem? The Taxman didn’t give you any instructions to go along with them.
Until now, that is.
IRS just released the instructions for Forms 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and 1095-B, Health Coverage, as well as Forms 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage.
And while admittedly they’re only draft versions, the instructions give you a good idea of what you’ll have to soon do to keep your company in compliance.
An early heads up
Here’s a rundown of key points you’ll need to know:
- You can file for this year … if you wish. Your company won’t be required to file these info returns until 2016 for tax Year 2015. However the Service will accept returns in early 2015 for this year if you choose to file voluntarily.
- Not everyone will file the forms to the same address. The instructions identify two different mailing addresses companies will have to use depending on the state you’re located in.
- But you might have to e-file anyway. IRS is adopting the same 250 return threshold it has for 1099s and W-2s for the new healthcare reporting returns. Have at least 250 forms to file and e-filing will be mandatory.
- You’ll be able to truncate Social Security numbers. For security’s sake you only have to show the last four digits of employees’ SSNs on the recipient copies of the returns, but you must include complete versions on the copies that go to IRS.
Final versions of the instructions are expected later in the fall. Of course, we’ll update you as soon as they’re released.