October 5, 2020
IRS again extends due date for complying with certain Affordable Care Act reporting requirements, offers limited relief from failure-to-furnish penalties
In Notice 2020-76 (Notice), the IRS automatically extends the due date for furnishing individuals with the 2020 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and the 2020 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, to March 2, 2021 (from January 31, 2021). Like the automatic extension granted for prior-year information returns, the IRS will not entertain any requests for further extensions of this new, blanket deadline.
As in 2019, the IRS did not extend the due dates for filing the 2020 Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage
Information Returns, and the 2020 Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer. Those dates remain February 28, 2021, for those filing less than 250 forms on paper, and March 31, 2021, for those filing electronically. Filers may, however, request an automatic 30-day extension of those filing deadlines.
Final year for accuracy-related penalty relief
The IRS has again stated that accuracy-related penalties will not be imposed on health insurers and
employers that make a good faith effort to comply with the reporting requirements if they furnished
statements to individuals and filed with the IRS on a timely basis. Unlike prior years, however, the Notice states that this will be the final year for accuracy-related penalty relief. This relief has been provided since this reporting requirement first became effective for calendar-year 2015 forms due to be filed in 2016.
Penalties still waived for failing to furnish certain forms
As was the case for the 2019 calendar-year forms, the IRS will waive penalties for failing to furnish certain forms when employers and health insurers meet defined requirements. In light of the individual shared responsibility payment (i.e., individual mandate penalty) being reduced to $0 (which was first effective for calendar-year 2019), the Notice recognizes that "an individual does not need the information on Form 1095-B in order to compute his or her federal tax liability or file an income tax return with the IRS." Accordingly, employers and health insurers will not be assessed penalties for failure to furnish Forms 1095-B (which they generally issue to report enrollment of responsible individuals who are not full-time employees) if they meet two conditions: (1) the reporting entity must post a notice prominently on its website stating that individuals may receive a copy of the form on request; and (2) the reporting entity must furnish the form within 30 days of receiving that request.
Penalty relief also applies to "Applicable Large Employers" (ALEs) that use Forms 1095-C to report enrollment in
Part III to anyone who is not a full-time employee for any month in 2020. This relief does not otherwise extend to ALEs for the Forms 1095-C they must furnish to employees who meet the definition of "full-time" for any month during 2020.
Request for comments
The Notice requests comments on whether and why the IRS should extend future deadlines for furnishing forms to individuals and generally on the furnishing requirements. Notice 2020-76 was published before the IRS issued draft or final reporting instructions for the 2020 forms despite making the first major change to Form 1095-C since 2016.
Furnishing and filing deadlines — federal and state
While employers and insurers may have penalty relief for failing to furnish certain forms, they must still file these forms with the IRS. In addition, they must now furnish 2020 forms to individuals who are subject to individual-mandate legislation in New Jersey, California, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia, despite the IRS waiving the penalties for failure to furnish at the federal level. Moreover, California has indicated that it has no statutory authority to extend the January 31, 2021 furnishing deadline even though the IRS has extended the deadline for the federal requirement. That said, California has also admitted that there is no statutory penalty in California for failure to furnish or timely furnish the forms.
Based on current information, the state deadlines for furnishing and filing are:
* While Massachusetts and Vermont also have health care mandates, reporting does not follow the same IRS annual Form 1095 format.