IRS Extends ACA Reporting Deadlines

The IRS has announced it is extending the 2016 due dates for ACA information reporting. While the deadlines have changed, the requirements are still the same and covered businesses are still obligated to file.

Specifically, businesses now have until:

  • March 31, 2016 to supply employees with the 2015 Form 1095-B and Form 1095-C. The previous date was January 31.
  • May 31, 2016 to file forms 1095-B and 1095-C with the IRS if submitting paper forms. The previous date was February 29.
  • June 30, 2016 to submit forms 1095-B and 1095-C to the IRS if filing electronically. The previous date was March 31.

These new dates give businesses more time to collect the necessary data and report it to the IRS. For more information, visit https://www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act.

 

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Final Versions of 2015 ACA Health Care Information Reporting Forms Now Available

The Internal Revenue Service has released the final versions of two key 2015 forms and the related instructions that employers and insurers will send to the IRS and individuals this winter to report health care coverage they offered or provided.  The IRS published these forms in 2014 and released draft forms and instructions for 2015 earlier this summer. The final forms and instructions for 2015 are largely unchanged from the previously released drafts.

The 2015 version of Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, and instructions used by employers with 50 or more full-time employees are now available on IRS.gov. Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and instructions primarily used by insurers and health coverage providers, including employers that sponsor self-insured plans, have been released as well. The related document transmittal Forms 1094-B and 1094-C are also available on IRS.gov.

The health care law requires certain employers and providers to submit the 2015 forms to the IRS and individuals in early 2016. Though the forms were available for voluntary use in tax-year 2014, the upcoming tax season will be the first time that reporting is mandatory.

Full article available at: http://www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act/Employers/ACA-Information-Center-for-Applicable-Large-Employers-ALEs

IRS Issues Draft ACA Forms 1094-C, 1095-B and 1095-C

The IRS has posted on its website three draft 2015 forms for use by employers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): (1) Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns; (2) Form 1095-C, Employer- Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, to be provided to employees and the IRS; and (3) Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, to be used by employers report certain information to the IRS and to taxpayers about individuals who are covered by minimum essential coverage and therefore are not liable for the individual shared responsibility payment.

Note the following about 2015 Form 1095-C:

  • The draft is generally unchanged from the 2014 Form 1095-C, except for the addition of one new field, titled “Plan Start Month.” This new field is optional for 2015. This means filers can choose to add this field and provide plan year information, to add this field and enter “00,” or, at their option, to leave this new field out (thus using the 2014 format). For 2016 and beyond, this field will be required.
  • The draft also includes a continuation sheet that filers use if they need to report coverage for more than six individuals.
  • For 2015, the indicator codes in Part II, line 14, “Offer of Coverage” will remain unchanged from those in 2014. See the 2014 instructions for Forms 1094-C and Forms 1095-C for more information on the 2014 codes.
  • For 2016 and beyond, filers will need to include two additional codes, if applicable. These new indicator codes will indicate to the IRS and to full-time employees that the employer’s offer to the spouse is a conditional offer. For more information see the FAQs on www.irs.gov.

Full article available at: http://apps.irs.gov/app/picklist/list/draftTaxForms.html?indexOfFirstRow=75&sortColumn=postedDate&value=&criteria=&resultsPerPage=25&isDescending=true

IRS Releases 2014 Data Book

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service released the 2014 IRS Data Book, a snapshot of agency activities for the fiscal year.

“Fiscal Year 2014 marked the fourth consecutive year IRS appropriations were reduced,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “These reductions required us to change our approach to taxpayer service and enforcement operations; with fewer resources, we saw decreases in the number of phone calls answered and the number of audits completed.”

The report describes activities conducted by the IRS from Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2014, and includes information about returns filed, taxes collected, enforcement, taxpayer assistance, and the IRS budget and workforce among others. The 2014 Data Book contains charts that show trends, such as the decline in the number of audits and the decline in telephone and in-person tax assistance and increases in the use of online resources and volunteer tax assistance.

During fiscal year 2014, the IRS collected almost $3.1 trillion in federal revenue and processed almost 240 million returns. About 65 percent of all returns were filed electronically.  Of the 147 million individual income tax returns filed, 84 percent were e-filed. Over 116 million individual income tax return filers received a tax refund, which totaled over $330 billion. The IRS examined less than 1 percent of all tax returns filed. About 3 percent of all individual tax returns examined resulted in additional refunds.

The IRS provided taxpayer assistance through 437 million visits to IRS.gov and assisted over 69 million taxpayers through its toll-free telephone helpline or at walk-in sites. An electronic version of the 2014 Data Book can be found on the Tax Stats page of IRS.gov.

Full article available at: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Releases-FY-2014-Data-Book

IRS Releases 2014 Forms 1095-C Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage and 1094-C

On February 8, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released forms 1095-C and 1094-C, and other forms required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Employers that are subject to the ACA employer “shared responsibility” mandate must use the new forms to report health insurance coverage offered under employer-sponsored plans in accordance with Section 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

Employers with 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) use Forms 1094-C and 1095-C to report the information required under sections 6055 and 6056 about offers of health coverage and enrollment in health coverage for their employees.  Form 1094-C must be used to report to the IRS summary information for each employer and to transmit Forms 1095-C to the IRS. Form 1095-C is used to report information about each employee. In addition, Forms 1094-C and 1095-C are used in determining whether an employer owes a payment under the employer shared responsibility provisions under section 4980H. Form 1095-C is also used in determining the eligibility of employees for the premium tax credit.

Employers that offer employer-sponsored self-insured coverage also use Form 1095-C to report information to the IRS and to employees about individuals who have minimum essential coverage under the employer plan and therefore are not liable for the individual shared responsibility payment for the months that they are covered under the plan.

Full article available at: http://apps.irs.gov/app/picklist/list/formsPublications.html;jsessionid=QhkaTCjL3ga4oMYM2L1Bwg__?sortColumn=postedDate&indexOfFirstRow=0&value=&criteria=&resultsPerPage=25&isDescending=true

Identity Theft a Major Concern on the IRS Annual “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams to Avoid

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service issued a filing season alert warning taxpayers to watch out for identity theft at tax time, one of the year’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue the criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number.

“We remain dedicated to stopping tax-related identity theft and protecting taxpayers, and we are making important progress on that front. Taxpayers still need to be extremely careful and do everything they can to avoid becoming a victim,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so. This year for the first time, the IRS will issue the individual Dirty Dozen scams the next 12 business days to raise consumer awareness.

“Scams can be sophisticated and take many forms. We urge people to protect themselves and use caution when viewing e-mails, receiving telephone calls or getting advice on tax issues,” Koskinen said. “Keep your personal information safe and secure. Taxpayers should protect their computers and only give out their Social Security numbers when absolutely necessary.”

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. While the IRS has made significant strides over the past several years to address this issue, it remains a top concern for the IRS, which is why identity theft remains on the Dirty Dozen again list this year as the IRS works to protect taxpayers and help victims.

As a result of these aggressive efforts to combat identity theft from 2011 through October 2014, the IRS has stopped 19 million suspicious returns and protected over $63 billion in fraudulent refunds.

For 2015, the IRS will continue to increase both the number and efficiency of the identity theft data models and filters that are used to identify potentially fraudulent returns. These pre-refund filters stop the vast majority of fraudulent returns. Additionally, the IRS continues to expand its partnerships with financial institutions to identity and stop fraudulent refunds.

Full article available at: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Identity-Theft-a-Major-Concern-on-the-IRS-Annual-Dirty-Dozen-List-of-Tax-Scams-to-Avoid

IRS Starts 2015 Tax Season; Free File Opens, E-File Tuesday; Expanded Online Services Enable People to Learn About New Health Care Provisions

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced the on-time opening of the nation’s 2015 filing season and highlighted a growing array of online services, including features that help taxpayers understand how the Affordable Care Act will affect them at tax time, along with the availability of the Free File program.

Taxpayers have until Wednesday, April 15, 2015 to file their 2014 tax returns and pay any tax due. The IRS expects to receive about 150 million individual income tax returns this year. Like each of the past three years, more than four out of five returns are expected to be filed electronically.

The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, opened Friday for taxpayers, and the IRS will begin accepting and processing all tax returns on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

This year’s return will include new questions to incorporate provisions of the Affordable Care Act (or ACA). The majority of taxpayers – more than three out of four – will simply need to check a box to verify they have health insurance coverage. For the minority of taxpayers who will have to do more, IRS.gov/aca features useful information and tips regarding the premium tax credit, the individual shared responsibility requirement and other tax features of the ACA.

“Our employees will be working hard again this season to help the nation’s taxpayers,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We encourage people to use the tools and information available on IRS.gov, particularly given the long wait times we anticipate on our phone lines. As always, taxpayers can benefit by filing electronically.”

Like last year, the IRS expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds within 21 days. Again, the fastest way to get a refund is to e-file and choose direct deposit.  It takes longer to process paper returns and in light of IRS budget cuts resulting in a smaller staff, it will likely take an additional week or more to process paper returns meaning that those refunds are expected to be issued in seven weeks or more.

Full article available at: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Starts-2015-Tax-Season;-Free-File-Opens-Tomorrow,-EFile-Tuesday

IRS Releases New Standard Mileage Rates; Business Rate to Rise in 2015

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2014-79. The Notice includes the 2015 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving purposes.  Beginning on January 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup, or panel truck will be:

  • 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, up from 56 cents in 2014;
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down half a cent from 2014; and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The Notice also includes the basis reduction amounts for those choosing the business standard mileage rate, as well as the maximum standard automobile cost that may be used in computing an allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

Full article available at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-14-79.pdf

New Healthcare Reporting Requirements

Beginning January 2016, the Affordable Care Act’s Employer Shared Responsibility Rule will require employers to file annual information returns with the IRS and deliver employee statements containing information about health plan coverage. This reporting requirement is in addition to reporting healthcare costs on Form W-2.

IRS Code Section 6055 requires health insurers and employers to provide enrolled employees and former employees with information that shows who has minimum essential coverage (MEC). Employees who do not have MEC may receive a penalty on their federal tax returns. (MEC is a requirement under Obamacare in order for people to avoid the Shared Responsibility Tax.)

IRS Code Section 6056 requires health insurers and employers to provide the IRS a list of employees who were provided MEC during a calendar year. An Applicable Large Employer (ALE) can be penalized if they do not offer minimum essential coverage to full-time employees or the coverage is too expensive and the employee purchases coverage on the Exchange Marketplace. An Applicable Large Employer is defined as a business with 50 or more full-time employees.

Who must report?

  • Insurers
  • Self-insured employers
  • Applicable large employers (ALEs)
  • A third party may complete reporting requirements but liability remains with the employer
  • Those that file 250 or more of Form 1095-C must file electronically

Who must send recipient copies?

  • Insurers
  • Self-insured employers
  • Applicable large employers (ALEs)
  • Electronic delivery is allowed if recipient gives consent

The bottom line is that this would be significant change in reporting requirements. And new tax forms will be needed. However, there is still much uncertainty surrounding these changes.

IRS Releases 2015 W-4

Last week, the International Revenue Service released the 2015 W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate.  Employers should make sure to use the new form and discard any unused 2014 forms.

The purpose of Form W-4 is to inform employers of a worker’s marital status and number of withholding allowances. This information is then used to determine how much federal income tax to deduct from employee’s paycheck. 

Full article available at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf