If you’re in a company with 50 to 99 full-time employees (including full-time equivalents) and believe that Affordable Care Act compliance doesn’t yet apply to you, read on.

The IRS has clarified that you, too, must file for CY2015 the new forms that are required for Affordable Care Act reporting. Yes, this filing burden in Q1 2016 isn’t just for employers with 100 or more FTEs.

IRS Form 1095-C_Integrity Data ACA Compliance Solution

IRS Form 1095-C, which is a yearly roundup of monthly breakdowns, represents the most intricate workforce reporting ever required of U.S. employers.

The recent IRS clarification means that:

  • By February 1, 2016, you are required to give every full-time employee their copy of the new IRS Form 1095-C (the employer’s statement of availability of employer-sponsored coverage).
  • By February 29, 2016, you are required to submit all these 1095-Cs along with their transmittal – the new Form 1094-C – to the IRS. (If you opt to electronically file, you will have until March 31, 2016.)

(If you are self-insured, you are required to produce and submit these forms regardless of how many FTEs you have. Scroll down to the “Help in filing IRS Forms 1095-C/1094-C” section at the end of this article.)

Ignoring these requirements carries significant financial consequences.

The non-filing penalty for any employer reporting due the IRS is $500 per required return. Click here to learn more about the non-filing penalty.

CY2015 relief only for tax liability

The IRS clarification came in follow-ups to the recent release of the CY2015 draft of IRS Form 1095-C. In the “What’s New” section, it was clearly stated that “All Applicable Large Employer Members (ALE Members) are required to file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C for 2015. For a definition of ALE Member, see the Definitions section.

In this section, there is no reference to the “transitional relief” often mentioned for employers in this category. That “relief,” as explained by an IRS tax law specialist, was from the tax liability of not offering coverage to full-time employees or offering them coverage that was not ACA-compliant.

It did not extend to the IRS reporting requirement.

“For tax year 2015, certain employers with 50 to 99 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, will not be liable for the employer shared responsibility payment,” Geoffrey Campbell, a tax law specialist with the IRS, said September 10, 2015 in group call on Affordable Care Act Information Reporting for Applicable Large Employers. “However, these employers are still required to satisfy Section 6056 reporting requirements by filing an information return with the IRS and furnishing a copy to the individual.”

What does Section 6056 reporting mean?

Satisfying Section 6056 reporting requirements means providing your employees, and then the IRS, with the most intricate workforce reporting yet.

For IRS Form 1095-C, you’ve got to go beyond yearly summaries, as you do on Form W-2. And you’ve also got to go beyond the quarterly summaries, as you do on Form 941. It’s monthly breakdowns that Form 1095-C is all about.