Late last week, the IRS issued proposed rules intended to ease the reporting requirements that employers will face once the “employer-mandate” portion of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) becomes effective in 2015. The employer-mandate requires that employers with 50 or more full-time employees offer health coverage to those employees or pay a fine. If employers do not provide coverage and have at least one full-time worker receiving government tax credits to buy health insurance, they will be fined $2,000 per full-time worker, excluding the first 30 workers. Even though the employer-mandate has been delayed until 2015, the requirement that all individuals have health insurance still becomes effective on January 1, 2014.
The proposed rules are aimed, in part, at addressing concerns that reporting procedures for employers are overly complex. The proposed rules would, among other things, relieve employers from having to determine whether employees are full-time so long as adequate coverage is offered to all “potentially full-time employees.” They would allow employers to report healthcare information on their employees’ W-2 tax forms, rather than requiring a separate form. Employers would also have to report costs for providing health insurance only if the cost is above a specific threshold dollar amount. The proposed rules are subject to public comment, and may be changed when ultimately finalized. Comments are due by November 8, 2013 and can be posted electronically.