Because a substantial number of employers, insurers, and other providers of health coverage need more time to gather and analyze the information they need to prepare certain health care information returns required to be filed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, the IRS on Friday announced extended due dates for those forms (Notice 2016-70). The due date to send individuals the 2016 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and the 2016 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, is extended to March 2, 2017, from Jan. 31, 2017.
However, the IRS has determined that there is no need for an extension of time for filing those forms with the IRS, or for the 2016 Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns. Those returns must be filed with the IRS by Feb. 28, 2017, if not filing electronically, and by March 31, 2017, if filing electronically.
Sec. 6055 requires health insurance issuers, self-insuring employers, government agencies, and other providers of minimum essential coverage to file annual information returns about coverage provided. Sec. 6056 requires applicable large employers (employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents, in the previous year) to file annual information returns about the health insurance the employer does or does not offer to its full-time employees.
Because the IRS is extending the due dates for the information returns provided to individuals, the normal provisions for requesting extended due dates for these forms will not apply. The IRS also encouraged employers who cannot meet the extended due dates to file the returns anyway. The IRS said it will take into account whether the employers made reasonable attempts to comply with the requirements and the steps that have been taken to prepare for the 2017 reporting requirements when determining whether to abate penalties for reasonable cause.
The extended due dates for information returns required to be furnished to individual taxpayers may make it difficult for employees who may not receive the information in time to file their returns. For those taxpayers, the IRS is providing relief by eliminating any requirement that they file amended returns if they receive these statements after they have filed their returns. They should, however, keep the information returns with their tax records.
The IRS is also extending its relief from penalties under Secs. 6721 and 6722 for taxpayers that have made good-faith efforts to comply with the 2016 reporting requirements.
—Sally P. Schreiber (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a JofA senior editor.