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IRS Gives Employers a New Years Gift: An Extension

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on January 06, 2016 5:58 AM

In celebration of the new year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS opted to be generous and to extend the deadlines for the 2015 information reporting requirements for employers and insurers under Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare). Unbeknownst to the general public, this will be the first year that employers and insurers will be required to report specific information about their health coverage given to their employees.

In-house should use this time wisely to ensure that the human resources department in their respective companies are on the ball.

More Time, Please

Originally, the IRS had set a deadline for employer reporting in February 1, 2016 and was ready to accept employers' reporting in January. Employers had been urged to report to employees and "other individuals" as soon as possible. But response against the February 1 deadline has been decidedly negative. Employers are still at a loss as to how to properly comply with the law's more complicated aspects, despite Obamacare being enacted into law almost five years ago.

"As part of our efforts to implement the ACA in a careful and thoughtful way, the Treasury Department and the IRS are responding to feedback from private sectors businesses and insurers and providing additional time for employer and insurer reporting under the ACA for the first year." These were the words of Mark Mazur, the Assistant Secretary of Tax Policy.

Actual Dates

Employers must provide their employees with the 2015 Form 1095-C and 1095-B, Employer- Provided Health Coverage Insurance Offer and Coverage, and 2015 Health Coverage. As mentioned above, the IRS extension pushes out the deadline from February 1 to March 31, 2016. The employer deadlines to reporting this information by paper and electronically have been pushed to May 31, 2016.

Individuals: Sit Back

As far as we can tell, nothing has changed for individual tax payers and they will not be affected by this extension. Most likely individuals will simply need to attest that they had coverage for 2015. Still, the gift of the IRS does not mean that any limits will be placed on the agency's ability to request and procure information in order to verify compliance with the law.

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