ACA Enforcement Has Begun: Are You Ready?
In a recent statement from the IRS, it’s been made clear that individual taxpayers will no longer be able to omit coverage information from their personal tax returns, opening themselves up to a “shared responsibility” payment (AKA penalty). In addition, in May 2017 the IRS completed development of a new technology system that aggregates information from health insurance providers, individual taxpayers, employers, and the insurance exchanges and can identify individuals and employers who are subject to “shared responsibility” payments. Add to this the many “non-filing” letters the IRS has sent to employers with at least 50 W-2s, and it appears that the IRS will soon assess penalties to noncompliant employers.
Here’s the full statement released by the IRS last week:
IRS Statement on Health Care Reporting Requirement
For the upcoming 2018 filing season, the IRS will not accept electronically filed tax returns where the taxpayer does not address the health coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The IRS will not accept the electronic tax return until the taxpayer indicates whether they had coverage, had an exemption or will make a shared responsibility payment. In addition, returns filed on paper that do not address the health coverage requirements may be suspended pending the receipt of additional information and any refunds may be delayed.
To avoid refund and processing delays when filing 2017 tax returns in 2018, taxpayers should indicate whether they and everyone on their return had coverage, qualified for an exemption from the coverage requirement or are making an individual shared responsibility payment. This process reflects the requirements of the ACA and the IRS’s obligation to administer the health care law.
Taxpayers remain obligated to follow the law and pay what they may owe at the point of filing. The 2018 filing season will be the first time the IRS will not accept tax returns that omit this information. After a review of our process and discussions with the National Taxpayer Advocate, the IRS has determined identifying omissions and requiring taxpayers to provide health coverage information at the point of filing makes it easier for the taxpayer to successfully file a tax return and minimizes related refund delays.
Click here for more information about the individual shared responsibility provision.