The IRS recently released new Forms 1094-C and 1095-C for 2016 employer reporting of health coverage. It is imperative that employers review these new forms as numerous changes have been made to clarify previously unclear aspects of the forms. Form deadlines will create a difficult task for many employers trying to gather the necessary information to complete the forms. Employers no longer have the extended filing deadlines they had in 2015. The 2016 forms are due as follows:
- Forms 1095-B and 1095-C (Due to Employees): Due January 31, 2017;
- Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C (Due to IRS): Due February 28, 2017 if filing in paper format and March 31, 2017 if filing electronically.
Employers should start focusing their efforts now on ensuring they have the information needed to complete the forms by the applicable deadline.
Finally, arguably the most notable change from the 2015 filings is the removal of the good faith efforts standard employers were able to utilize for the 2015 filings. In 2015, if the requisite forms were filed timely, the IRS generally did not assess a penalty for inaccurate information so long as the employer made a good faith effort to complete and submit the filings. This good faith efforts standard no longer exists with the 2016 filings. An employer is now subject to all applicable penalties with respect to inaccurate filings. However, IRS “reasonable cause” relief may still be available in certain circumstances.
Employers should contact their health care advisors now to get the ball rolling on these important filings.