IRS provides details about postponed employer health care penalty and information reporting

BY SALLY P. SCHREIBER, J.D.

On Tuesday, the IRS made official the postponement of the large-employer health care penalty and certain information reporting rules that had been informally announced July 2 on a Treasury Department blog. Notice 2013-45 postpones the information reporting rules under Secs. 6055 and 6056 and the Sec. 4980H shared responsibility penalty to 2015, to give employers, insurers, and other providers more time to adapt their health coverage and reporting systems. (The original effective date for all three Code sections was 2014.) 

As the notice explains, the postponement of the Sec. 6056 information reporting rules makes the 2014 relief from the shared responsibility payments necessary. The transition relief from information reporting under Sec. 6056 is expected to make it impractical to determine which employers owe shared responsibility payments for 2014 under the employer shared responsibility provisions. Accordingly, the IRS will not assess any shared employer shared responsibility payments for 2014.

The notice reiterated that the postponement will have no effect on the availability of the premium tax credit under Sec. 36B, which assists certain low- and moderate-income individuals who enroll in a qualified health plan through a health insurance exchange (and who are not eligible for employer coverage that is affordable and provides minimum value) in paying their premiums. It also does not affect the individual mandate under Sec. 5000A, which imposes a penalty on individuals who do not have minimum essential coverage and will apply, as scheduled, beginning in 2014.

Treasury expects to publish proposed regulations implementing the Sec. 6055 information-reporting requirements for insurers, self-insuring employers, and other parties that provide health coverage, and the Sec. 6056 information-reporting requirements for employers that provide health coverage to their full-time employees this summer. The proposed rules will reflect the transition relief for the information reporting rules for 2014.

Although the effective date for these provisions will be 2015, the government will encourage voluntary compliance in 2014 to prepare for full application of the rules in 2015 and allow “[r]eal world testing of reporting systems and plan designs.” In the meantime, the IRS wants to have additional time to discuss the reporting requirements with stakeholders to enable it to simplify the requirements while ensuring that the law is being implemented effectively.

Sally P. Schreiber ( sschreiber@aicpa.org ) is a JofA senior editor.

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