|Recognizing that many employers and others may need additional time to prepare reports under new Affordable Care Act requirements, the IRS has announced an automatic extension automatic extension of the deadline for delivering these reports. As a result:
The IRS is prepared to receive forms beginning in January and encourages employers and other reporting parties to distribute the forms to individuals and submit the reports to the IRS as soon as they are ready. Distribution of the reports in accordance with the original timing requirements will help certain individuals confirm that they obtained minimum essential coverage (to meet the individual mandate) or, if applicable, that they qualified for subsidized coverage through the Marketplace (a health insurance exchange). However, the new guidance provides transitional relief to individuals as well as reporting parties. Individuals may rely on other information from employers about the coverage provided or offered to them, and they will not need to submit an amended return upon receipt of the required reports.
This transitional relief applies only to the reports specified above and only to reports relating to the 2015 year. The new relief supersedes prior guidance about extensions for completing the reports. The new guidance does not affect other requirements or standards. In particular, the good faith standard for completing information on the forms for 2015 remains in effect.
Employers, insurers, and other entities who were concerned about the deadlines may breathe a little easier because of the new guidance. Those who were considering filing for an extension should not do so. However, it makes sense to remain diligent in meeting the requirements. If a reporting entity does not believe that it will meet the original deadline for distributing forms, it may consider whether to issue a general communication about coverage to affected individuals.