IRS Notice N-2016-70 has extended the deadline for mailing the 2016 reporting year 1095 Forms from January 31st, 2017 to March 2nd, 2017.
Importantly, the Notice only extends the deadline for mailing the forms to employees and plan participants, and it does not extend the deadline for electronically transmitting the reporting data to the IRS. The electronic transmission deadline remains March 31st, 2017.
The Notice also does not affect the provisions regarding the potential to receive an additional extension. Namely, the automatic 30-day extensions on the time for filing the data with the IRS remains an available option via the submission of a Form 8809 request on or before the March 31st, 2017 deadline. Additionally, in cases of hardship, a filer may be granted an additional 30-day extension if they submit a request before their initial extended period expires explaining in detail why additional time is needed.
While the IRS made similar adjustments last year, they’ve reiterated that this year’s extension applies only to the 2016 reporting year and has no effect on reporting provisions for other years nor on the effective date or application of other ACA provisions.
This Notice, a welcome adjustment to one aspect of ACA reporting responsibilities, also extends good-faith relief to the 2016 information reporting requirements. Therefore, if an employer can demonstrate that “they have made good-faith efforts to comply with the information-reporting requirements under sections 6055 and 6056 for 2016” then penalties may not apply.
Lastly, the Notice makes it clear that in determining if good faith relief applies, the IRS will consider “the extent to which the employer or other coverage provider is taking steps to ensure that it will be able to comply with the reporting requirements for 2017,” underscoring the importance of ongoing ACA compliance efforts even after this month’s presidential election results.