IRS Releases Publication 5164, Test Package for 2017 Electronic PPACA Filers

The IRS has released Publication 5164, Test Package for Electronic Filers of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns (AIR), for tax year 2017 (processing year 2018). The publication describes the testing procedures that must be completed by those filing electronic PPACA returns with the IRS, specifically Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C. As a reminder, those who are filing 250 or more forms are required to file electronically with the IRS.

Importantly, the testing procedure applies to the entity that will be transmitting the electronic files to the IRS. Thus, only employers who are filing electronically with the IRS on their own would need to complete the testing. If an employer has contracted with a software vendor who is filing on the employer’s behalf, then the testing and this publication would not apply to the employer, but would apply to the software vendor instead.

For reporting year 2017, the IRS is providing two options (see pages 13-15) for submitting test scenarios: predefined scenarios and criteria-based scenarios. Predefined scenarios provide specific test data within the submission narrative for each form line that needs to be completed. Criteria-based scenarios allow more flexibility to the tester to test and create data on their own that may be unique to their organization when completing the necessary test scenarios.

Correction scenarios are also provided (see page 18), but they are not required in order to pass testing.

As a reminder, electronic filing of 2017 returns will be due April 2, 2018 (since March 31, 2018 falls on a weekend). If you are a large employer who is required to file electronically and would like information on third-party vendors who can assist, please contact your advisor.

IRS Publication 5164 »