IRS releases electronic specs for ACA information returns

IRS Pub. 6165 outlines the communication procedures, transmission formats, business rules and validation procedures for returns transmitted electronically through the ACA information returns (AIR) system. To develop software for use with the AIR system, Software Developers, Transmitters, and Issuers should use the guidelines provided in this publication along with the Extensible Markup Language (XML) Schemas published on IRS.gov.

The procedures in this publication should be used when the following information returns are transmitted electronically:

• Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns

• Form 1095-B, Health Coverage

• Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns

• Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage

The publication does not contain information or procedures for filing Forms 1095-A. The transmittal Forms 1094-B and Forms 1094-C provide information about the Issuer of the ACA Information Returns and the Forms 1095-B and 1095-C provide information about the covered individuals. The procedures in this publication should also be used in conjunction with the most current version of the following publications:

• Publication 4557 – Safeguarding Taxpayer Data: A Guide for Your Business: The purpose of this Publication is to provide information on legal requirements to safeguard taxpayer data. The target audience is non-government businesses involved in the preparation and filing of income tax returns.

• Publication 4600 – Safeguarding Taxpayer Information Quick Reference Guide for Businesses: The target audience is non-government businesses involved in the preparation and filing of tax returns. The purpose of this Publication is to provide information on requirements to safeguard taxpayer information, safeguarding techniques, and data security incidents.

• Publication 5164 – Test Package for Electronic Filers of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns (AIR): This publication contains general and program specific testing information for use in completing the ACA Assurance Testing System (AATS) process for business submissions. AATS is a process to test software and electronic transmissions prior to accepting Software Developers, Transmitters, and Issuers into the AIR program. (IRS Pub. 5165, Guide for Electronically Filing Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns (AIR) for Software Developers and Transmitters (Processing Year [PY] 2016.)

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