We are a few weeks into the new year, and employers and health insurance providers should begin their ACA (Affordable Care Act) reporting process if they haven’t already. This can be a lengthy and complex process and requires preparation. Starting early is the best way to ensure a successful reporting season for your business organization.
If your business is required to complete ACA reporting and is somewhere in the midst of this process, this is a checklist to help ensure you cross the “i”s and dot the “t”s needed to complete and file ACA forms successfully.
Check your ACA Reporting Requirements Annually
Not every organization that is required to complete ACA reporting will have the same filing requirements. Therefore, it is important to check the requirements each year to see what exactly is needed from your organization before beginning the process.
The easiest place to start is the form that your organization is required to file. This will be either Form 1094-B/C or 1095-B/C, the form will depend on the type of business and number of employees.
- If you are an employer with less than 50 employees and a self-insured insurance plan, or a health care provider, you are required to file Form 1095-B.
- If you are an employer with more than 50 employees (Applicable Large Employer), you should file Form 1095-C.
Note: The transmittal Form 1094-B or 1094-C should be included along with the 1095 forms.
In addition to filing the correct form with the IRS, copies must be distributed to recipients to meet ACA compliance.
Gather the Required Information and Check that it’s Accurate
To complete ACA filing, there is a wide range of information that is required. These forms describe the coverage that was offered to each eligible employee and potentially their spouse and/or dependents. Gathering this information from your employment records and checking it for accuracy can take time, but is a necessary step.
Here is an overview of the information required on ACA forms:
- Basic information about your business – Name, EIN, and more
- Basic information about the individual or employee – Name, SSN, and more
- Details about the coverage offered
- Covered individuals’ details
If your organization is required to file Form 1095-C, there will be some additional time needed to add the ACA codes required on each employee’s form.
You will need to indicate the offer of coverage that was extended to the employee on Line 14 using Codes 1A – 1U, and the type of coverage on Line 16 using Codes 2A – 2H.
Know the IRS Deadlines
There are two deadlines that you should be aware of and prepared for, the deadline to file with the IRS and the deadline to distribute form copies to recipients. These deadlines are not the same.
When it comes to the filing deadline, this will vary depending on the filing method that your business chooses. The deadline to file paper copies with the IRS is February 28, 2023. The deadline to file electronically is March 31, 2023. It is important to note that any business filing more than 250 forms is required to file electronically.
The deadline to distribute form copies to recipients is March 2, 2023, regardless of whether you filed paper forms or e-filed with the IRS.
Failing to complete your ACA reporting on time may result in unwanted penalties from the IRS, and these penalties can range in size.
If you think that you need more time to prepare, you can apply for a 30-day extension by filing Form 8809. This extension is automatic and the IRS doesn’t require a reason for filing.
Know your State ACA Requirements
Some states require that employers and health insurance providers complete ACA reporting requirements at the state level as well as with the IRS.
These states include:
- District of Columbia
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
Employers or providers that offer Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to any individuals residing in these states are required to file on their behalf with the state agency.
Choose a Trusted ACA Reporting Provider
As we’ve covered in this article, completing ACA reporting for your own organization can be a complex process, and given the risk of IRS penalties, it may be one that you choose to delegate to a professional.
This brings us to our next point, choosing a provider that will meet your requirements and that you can trust as an industry expert.
There are several reporting providers available, when it comes to choosing the right one for your organization, it is important to keep your specific filing needs in mind.
Depending on what you need from your ACA reporting process, your requirements may vary, but the provider you choose should have the following qualifications.
- IRS authorization is required for the provider to transmit forms via the IRS system securely.
- Options for recipient copy distribution
- Dedicated customer support
- Time-saving Features that eliminate administrative duties for your team
Whether you are new to the ACA reporting process, or very familiar with it, it is important to stay ahead of the deadlines and consider changes to filing requirements each year.
Realizing that your business needs a solution to ACA reporting and choosing a trusted provider is a much better option than accumulating heavy IRS penalties. Hopefully, this checklist takes some of the apprehension out of your ACA reporting process and sheds light on where to begin!