Thomson Reuters has released a special report highlighting key provisions  of the Affordable Care Act that employers, accounting firms  and other professionals  should understand to avoid tax penalties.

The report, Get Ready to Play or Pay: Employer Shared Responsibility under Health Care Reform, provides an overview of employer shared responsibility payments, decision points and resources, including tools and training available through Thomson Reuters.

Beginning in 2015, the Affordable Care Act will subject certain employers to penalties if they fail to offer employer-sponsored health care coverage to full-time employees or if they offer coverage that does not meet “minimum value” standards.

“Although shared responsibility does not take effect until next year, action is required now,” said Jeff Knapp, senior editor in the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters, in a statement. “Certain steps need to be taken in 2014 for application in 2015, so it is vital that employers coordinate efforts with their IT, finance, tax, legal, HR, payroll, and benefits teams to prepare for the new provisions.”

The special report, which is available for download at no cost, provides insights on the Affordable Care Act.

Thomson Reuters advises that employers should be prepared to track employees’ hours of service; determine whether they are large employers subject to the law; identify which full-time employees can trigger a penalty; and understand the consequences of not offering basic coverage to full-time employees and their children up to age of 26.

The report also recommends that employers should consider whether to offer affordable, minimum value coverage; and evaluate their eligibility for transition relief, which could mitigate or delay some of the shared responsibility consequences for 2015. Employers have to report the required information to the IRS, which the government needs to correctly administer various provisions of the health care law, including employer shared responsibility payments, the individual mandate and premium tax credits.

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