IRS posts draft instructions for filing some ACA information returns

The IRS has released draft instructions for filing some information returns required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The draft instructions cover Forms 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns; 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns; 1095-B, Health Coverage; and 1095- C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage.

ACA-related reporting under Code Sec. 6056 for applicable large employers (and insurer reporting under Code Sec. 6055) is needed for the administration of Code Sec. 4980H and the Code Sec. 36B premium assistance tax credit. The IRS issued final regulations in 2014 in T.D. 9661, I.R.B. 2014-13, 855.

The IRS has posted draft instructions for electronically filing these ACA information returns (Publication 5165, Guide for Electronically Filing Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns (AIR) for Software Developers and Transmitters (Processing Year [PY] 2015). The draft instructions detail communication procedures, transmission formats and validation procedures. In the draft instructions, the IRS explained that Forms 1094/1095-B and Forms 1094/1095-C are classified as information returns and fall under Code Sec. 6011(e)(2)(A), which provides that any person, including a corporation, partnership, individual, estate or trust, who is required to file 250 or more information returns, must file the returns electronically.

Draft instructions have also been posted for general and program specific testing information for use with ACA Assurance Testing System (AATS) (Publication 5164, Test Package for Electronic Filers of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns). Software developers must pass all applicable test scenarios for the forms the software package supports, before the software packages are approved, the IRS explained.

In draft Publication 5223, General Rules and Specifications for Affordable Care Act Substitute Forms 1095-A, 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C, the IRS explained that, for a substitute form or statement to be acceptable, it must conform to the official form or official specifications. The IRS will not allow substitute forms that include logos, slogans and advertisements as the recipient may not recognize the importance of the recipient copy for tax reporting purposes.

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