Large employers should be preparing for upcoming Affordable Care Act deadlines (ACA) to avoid facing potential fines and penalties. That’s the advice of the Society for Human Resource Management, among other groups sounding the reminders.
Despite all the flurry of activity and rhetoric around the law, it was neither repealed nor replaced this year and the first 2018 deadline is only a month away. The law has created a wide variety of issues for employers and payroll providers as they grapple with a multitude of individual regulations and definitions, as well as the threat of penalties for non-compliance. Large employers have additional reporting requirements under the law’s shared responsibility provisions, which require larger employers to provide minimum essential coverage to employees who work at least 30 hours a week.
Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) have until January 31 to complete and distribute IRS form 1095-C to their employees, describing the health coverage offered to the employee. The final forms and instructions were published by the Internal Revenue Service in October.
Calculating ALE Status under the ACA
“ALEs” are employers who had 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) on average during the prior year, with some exceptions. Full-time employees are employees who average a minimum of 30 hours a week, or at least 130 hours during a calendar month, but the calculation of FTEs includes an accounting of hours that includes part-time employee hours.
Businesses that qualify as ALEs are subject to shared responsibility under the law, including the responsibility to offer health coverage that meets the ACA standards for “minimal essential health coverage” to their full-time employees or “potentially make an employer shared responsibility payment to the IRS,” according to the agency’s website.
Employers must report to the IRS by Feb. 28 on paper and by March 31, electronically, information regarding the health insurance coverage and enrollment for all eligible employees.
Visit the Internal Revenue Service site for more complete information on deadlines and requirements, including help in calculating whether a business qualifies as an ALE under the ACA.