ACA Pathways: 2017 Employer Reporting Finalized
October 11, 2017
On September 28, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final 2017 forms for reporting under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Sections 6055 and 6056. Final instructions for 2017 were released in early October.
- 2017 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C are used by applicable large employers (ALEs) to report under Code Section 6056, as well as for combined Code Section 6055 and 6056 reporting by ALEs who sponsor self-insured plans.
- 2017 Forms 1094-B and 1095-B will be used by entities reporting under Code Section 6055, including self-insured plan sponsors that are not ALEs.
The 2017 forms and instructions are very similar to the 2016 versions. However, note the following changes:
- Code Section 4980H Transition Relief. Several forms of transition relief were available to some employers under Code Section 4980H for the 2015 plan year (including any portion of the 2015 plan year that fell in 2016). However, no Code Section 4980H transition relief is available for 2017. As a result, the 2017 instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C were revised to remove references to Code Section 4980H transition relief. In addition, Form 1094-C has been revised to remove references to this transition relief. Specifically, the following two sections on Form 1094-C related to this transition relief have been designated as "Reserved" and should not be used: Part II, in the "Certifications of Eligibility" Section on Line 22, Box C; and Part III, in the "ALE Member Information - Monthly" table, column (e).
- Instructions for Recipient. Both individual statements (Forms 1095-B and 1095-C) include an "Instructions for Recipient" section. On both of the 2017 Forms 1095-B and 1095-C, the following paragraph was added: "Additional information. For additional information about the tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the individual shared responsibility provisions, the premium tax credit, and the employer shared responsibility provisions, see www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act/Individuals-and-Families or call the IRS Healthcare Hotline for ACA questions (1-800-919-0452)."
- Updated Penalty Amounts. Both sets of 2017 instructions include updated penalty amounts for failures to file returns and furnish statements in 2017. The adjusted penalty amount is $260 per violation, with an annual maximum of $3,218,500 (up from a maximum of $3,193,000, for 2016).
- Code Series 2 (Code Section 4980H Safe Harbor Codes and Other Relief). The 2017 instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C clarify that there is no specific code to enter on line 16 to indicate that a full-time employee who was offered coverage either did not enroll or waived the coverage.
- Corrected Forms 1095-C. The 2017 instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C include additional information for employers that have errors on Forms 1095-C. Specifically, the instructions indicate that Forms 1095-C filed with incorrect dollar amounts on line 15, Employee Required Contribution, may fall under a safe harbor for certain de minimis errors. The safe harbor generally applies if no single amount in error differs from the correct amount by more than $100. If the safe harbor applies, employers will not have to correct Form 1095-C to avoid penalties. However, if the recipient elects for the safe harbor not to apply, the employer may have to issue a corrected Form 1095-C to avoid penalties. For more information, see Notice 2017-9.
- Reporting Catastrophic Coverage for 2017. The 2017 instructions for Forms 1094-B and 1095-B clarify that reporting for catastrophic coverage enrolled in through the Exchange remains optional for 2017. It was expected that health insurance issuers and carriers would be required to report this coverage beginning in 2017. However, the instructions clarify that reporting of catastrophic coverage enrolled in through the Exchange will remain optional for coverage in 2017 (filing in 2018).
- Formatting Returns Filed with the IRS. Both sets of 2017 instructions clarify that all returns filed with the IRS must be printed in landscape format.
In addition, a prior draft version of Form 1095-C for 2017 clarified that the "Plan Start Month" box in Part II of Form 1095-C will remain optional for 2017. The instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C indicate that this box may be mandatory for the 2018 Form 1095-C.
Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, along with the instructions, are available on the IRS website here, here, and here, respectively. Forms 1094-B and 1095-B, and instructions, are available here, here, and here.
For More Information
For more information about this ACA Pathways or about any other health care reform-related provisions, please contact your Burnham Benefits consultant or Burnham Benefits at:
Burnham Benefits does not engage in the practice of law and this publication should not be construed as the providing of legal advice or a legal opinion of any kind. The consulting advice we provide is intended solely to assist in assessing its compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other applicable federal and state law requirements, and is based on Burnham Benefit’s interpretation of federal guidance in effect as of the date of this publication. To the best of our knowledge, the information provided herein, and assumptions relied on, are reasonable and accurate as of the date of this publication. Furthermore, to ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any tax advice contained in this publication is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of (i) avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any tax-related matter.
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