The Internal Revenue Service has issued a formal notice that officially delays the employer shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as the employer mandate, for a year and postpones the information reporting requirements.
The White House and the Treasury Department posted announcements about the delay last week on blogs (see Obama Administration Delays Employer Mandate for Affordable Care Act). But the new Notice 2013-45 from the IRS formalizes and further explains the transition relief.
The announcement gives larger employers an additional year to comply with the health care reform law. The requirements will instead begin in January 2015 for employers with 50 or more full-time employees (or the equivalent in full- and part-time employees) to offer quality affordable health insurance to employees or face a $2,000 fine per employee if the employee receives a premium tax credit for purchasing individual coverage on one of the upcoming health insurance exchanges.
The IRS said in the notice that the transition relief will provide additional time for input from employers and other reporting entities in an effort to simplify information reporting consistent with effective implementation of the law. “This transition relief also is intended to provide employers, insurers, and other providers of minimum essential coverage time to adapt their health coverage and reporting systems,” said the IRS. “Both the information reporting and the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions will be fully effective for 2015. In preparation for that, once the information reporting rules have been issued, employers and other reporting entities are encouraged to voluntarily comply with the information reporting provisions for 2014.”
The Obama administration emphasized that the delay came in response to demands from businesses to provide more time to adjust to the new requirements.
The IRS added that the transition relief through 2014 for the information reporting and Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions has no effect on the effective date or application of other Affordable Care Act provisions.
The Obama administration still plans to open the health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, on Oct. 1. It recently shortened the 21-page application for health insurance into a three-page application to make it easier for taxpayers to apply for coverage. House Republicans have introduced legislation once again to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act and have begun pushing the Obama administration to delay the individual mandate for buying health insurance now that the employer mandate has been delayed.