ACA Reporting Deadline Extension and Related Penalty Relief

On December 2, 2019, the IRS released IRS Notice 2019-63, extending the deadlines for distributing ACA reporting forms to individuals. The IRS also provided relief from penalties for good faith effort and from the requirement to distribute the Form 1095-B to individuals. As background, the ACA imposed two reporting requirements under Sections 6055 and 6056. Section 6055 requires entities that provide minimum essential coverage to report to the IRS and to covered individuals the months in which the individuals were covered. Section 6056 requires applicable large employers (under the employer mandate) to report to the IRS and full-time employees whether they offered minimum essential coverage that was affordable and minimum value. See below for a description of the deadline and relief provided through the notice.

Deadline Extension

As the IRS has done for the last four reporting years, they have extended the date by which employers must distribute Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to individuals. Those forms must now be distributed by March 2, 2020 (instead of January 31, 2020). However, as in previous years, this notice does not extend the date by which employers must file Forms 1094-B/C and 1095-B/C with the IRS. Those dates remain February 28, 2020, if filing by paper and March 31, 2020, if filing electronically.

Good Faith Effort Relief

The IRS is also reinstating relief recognizing good faith effort made by employers that file the 2019 forms. Specifically, employers that timely file and distribute their required Forms 1094-B/C and 1095-B/C will not be subject to penalties if the information is incorrect or incomplete. The relief does not extend to a complete failure to file.

Section 6055 Relief

Notably, this notice also provides penalty relief for employers which will allow them to forego distributing the Form 1095-B to individuals. This comes after the IRS accepted comments on the necessity of the Forms 1095-B now that the individual mandate penalty has been zeroed out. As long as employers post a notice on their website that the document is available upon request, and then fulfill any such request within 30 days – they don’t have to distribute them to covered individuals.

This relief is not available for Forms 1095-C, but can be applied to employees who are not full-time and only receive a Form 1095-C to meet the Form 1095-B reporting requirement. In other words, those employees who are only receiving a Form 1095-C because the employer uses Part III to comply with Section 6055 no longer have to be provided a Form 1095-C.

Employers should keep this guidance in mind as they are preparing their filings and distributions. We will continue to update you on reporting guidance from the IRS.