Accountants and Businesses: Don’t Get Caught Unprepared this Tax Filing Season
Businesses face increased filing requirements due to Obamacare
January 6, 2016 | Greatland Corporation | Grand Rapids, MI
While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has varying definitions of small business, one thing remains clear: your company’s tax reporting requirements have probably changed.
Greatland Corporation, one of the country’s leading providers of W-2 and 1099 products for businesses, urges businesses to prepare for the additional ACA tax reporting requirements before the deadline to avoid penalties.
The ACA’s employer mandate now requires businesses with at least 50 full-time employees or FTEs (full-time equivalents) to provide affordable health coverage to employees or face financial penalties. Due to this change – and new for reporting year 2015 as part of the ACA – employers and insurers must comply with ACA reporting requirements, including filing 1095 forms, which must also be issued to recipients by March 31, 2016.
The Internal Revenue Service developed 1095 forms for employers to report the offer of healthcare coverage to employees and to the IRS. Businesses that fit this requirement must file Form 1095-B, or in the case of large employers, Form 1095-C, on behalf of their employees and send the same information to the IRS. This is also mandatory for full-time employees who declined to participate in their employer’s health plan. Filing each of these forms properly is important so businesses do not spend it on costly, unnecessary fines.
ACA has drastically increased the amount of paperwork for accounting professionals, human resource consultants and small businesses in order to comply with the looming employer tax reporting requirements. The complexity of the new reporting requirements will undoubtedly be one of the biggest challenges. The IRS requirements have increased the responsibility of collecting information for employers who must report specific data that was not needed in prior years.
“Unfortunately, many of the businesses affected by ACA are unaware of what they’re facing and human resource departments are learning as they go, trying to navigate the new complexities and reporting data they have never had to before,” said Bob Nault, Greatland’s CEO. “Even more, this year, mistakes can be costlier than ever if you are not prepared and small businesses often can’t afford these high penalties.”
Additionally, the IRS increased penalties this summer for failure to file correct information returns and provide correct payee statements for information returns filed late, with maximum penalties on small businesses increasing from $500,000 to $1 million. In 2016 (for reporting on calendar year 2015) employers and insurers are expected to be compliant with ACA reporting requirements. Incorrect filings will not be penalized for calendar year 2015 filing (reported in 2016) if employers/insurers file on time and make a good faith effort to comply. Companies that intentionally neglect the reporting requirements face a penalty of $250 per violation this year.
A full list of year-end reporting forms and instructions are available on the IRS’s website. If you need further help or filing resources, visit Greatland's website.