Health coverage information reporting deadlines extended

The IRS has provided transitional relief from the information reporting requirements applicable to insurers, self-insuring employers and certain other providers of minimum essential coverage under Code Sec. 6055 and to applicable large employers under Code Sec. 6056, and has provided guidance to individual taxpayers who may be affected by the extended deadlines provided to coverage providers and applicable large employers.

The deadline for filing Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage has been extended from February 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016. The deadline for filing Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, is extended from February 29, 2016 to May 31, 2016 for non-electronic filers and from March 31, 2016 to June 30, 2016 for electronic filers. Employers and other coverage providers that fail to meet these extended due dates are subject to the penalties under Code Sec. 6722 or 6721 for failure to timely furnish and file. In view of the extensions provided, the provisions regarding automatic and permissive extensions of time for filing information returns and permissive extensions for furnishing statements will not apply to the extended due dates. However, the IRS will consider the extent to which an employer or other coverage provider files and furnishes these statements when determining whether to abate penalties for reasonable cause. It will also consider whether reasonable efforts have been made to prepare for reporting the required information and the extent to which the employer or other coverage provider is taking steps to ensure it is able to comply with these requirements for 2016.

Some individual taxpayers may be affected by the extended due date for Form 1095-C. Under Code Sec. 36B(c)(2)(C), an employee is not eligible for the premium tax credit if the employee is eligible for coverage under an employer-sponsored plan that provides minimum value and is affordable. The information provided on Form 1095-C will assist an employee in determining eligibility for the premium tax credit. Although most employees will not be affected by the extension, employees who enrolled in coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace but did not receive a confirmation from the Marketplace that the offer of employer-sponsored coverage was not affordable could be affected if they do not receive their Forms 1095-C before they file their income tax returns. As a result, for 2015 only, individuals who rely on other information from their employers about their coverage offers for purposes of determining eligibility for the premium tax credit need not amend their returns once they receive their Forms 1095-C or any corrected forms. Similarly, individual taxpayers may be affected by the extended due date for providers of minimum essential coverage to furnish information under Code Sec. 6055 on either Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C. Individuals generally use this information to confirm they had minimum essential coverage for purposes of Code Secs. 36B and 5000A. Because this information may also not be provided in time for these individuals to file their tax returns, these individuals may, for 2015 only, rely on other information received from their coverage providers about their coverage for purposes filing their returns and need not amend their returns once their receive a Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C or any corrections. (IRS Notice 2016-4, IRB 2016-3, January 18, 2016.)

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