IRS Extends Deadline for ALEs to Distribute 2018 ACA Reporting Forms to Individuals

The IRS has issued Notice 2018-94, which provides a 30-day extension to the deadline for Applicable Large Employers ("ALEs") to distribute the 2018 Affordable Care Act ("ACA") reporting forms to employees and covered individuals.

NOTE: This extended deadline applies only to distributing the 2018 ACA reporting forms to employees and covered individuals and not to the deadline for filing the forms with the IRS.

Background. ALEs are required to file Forms 1094 and 1095 with the IRS to report their compliance with the ACA's employer shared responsibility provisions (i.e., the employer mandate). Forms 1094 and 1095 provide certain information to the IRS and taxpayers regarding individuals who are covered by Minimum Essential Coverage and, therefore, not subject to the ACA's individual shared responsibility provisions (i.e., the individual mandate).

For fully-insured group health plans, the insurance carrier is responsible for furnishing the Forms 1095-B to the IRS and employees, and the employer is responsible for furnishing Forms 1095-C to the IRS. For self-funded group health plans, the employer/sponsor is generally responsible for issuing and filing both Forms 1095-B and 1095-C.

Guidance. The original deadline for ALEs to distribute 2018 Forms 1095-B and Forms 1095-C to individuals was January 31, 2019. The new deadline is March 4, 2019, and Notice 2018-94 confirms that the IRS will not grant additional 30-day extensions.

As explained above, Notice 2018-94 does not extend the deadlines for ALEs to file the 2018 ACA reporting forms with the IRS. ALEs filing less than 250 returns may file in paper. The deadline for paper filing is February 28, 2019. ALEs filing 250 or more returns must file electronically through the IRS's AIR system. The deadline for electronic filing is April 1, 2019.

For the 2015 through 2017 filing cycles, the IRS provided ALEs with transition relief from penalties related to incomplete or incorrect forms if the ALE could show that it made good faith efforts to comply with the reporting requirements. In particular, this relief applied to missing and inaccurate information required on the forms, but not to untimely filed forms. Notice 2018-94 confirms that this relief also applies for the 2018 filing cycle.

Employer Takeaway. ALEs are advised to use the additional time provided by the extended deadline for furnishing the 2018 ACA reporting forms to ensure that the forms are accurate and complete. This is because filers will have less time between the distribution deadline and the filing deadline to make any required corrections.

Notice 2018-94 is available by clicking here.