IRS Releases Employer Mandate Guidance

The Internal Revenue Service has released guidance and draft forms instructing employers on how to comply with the employer mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The 13-page draft instructions are posted on the IRS website and are considered a final step to complying with the mandate. The materials have been a long time coming, as employers have complained that the administration had been dragging its feet on releasing guidance on the twice-delayed PPACA provision. The delay in guidance also raised concerns that the employer mandate would be delayed a third time, or killed altogether.

The National Retail Federation, the largest retail trade association that previously slammed the administration for not releasing the needed information for the employer mandate, said Thursday that they welcomed the guidance. “Now that we have the regulations, the forms and the instructions, companies can continue their compliance activities,” said Neil Trautwein, vice president at the National Retail Federation.  “While the instructions were delayed, they remain helpful.

“The Affordable Care Act is still a work in progress and additional regulatory provisions and requirements will be forthcoming. Additional delays or changes may follow,” he continued.

Under the latest delay, announced in February of this year, employers with between 50 and 99 employees have until January 2016 to offer health insurance or pay a fine, and employers with more than 100 employees must offer insurance or pay a fine of $2,000 per worker by January 2015. Companies with fewer than 50 employees are exempt.

The IRS documents include drafts of Form 1095-A, the Health Insurance Marketplace Statement; Form 1095-B, Health Coverage; Form 1095-C, Employer Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage; and the instructions for those forms.