Healthcare Law Reporting Rules Could Be Eased; Groups Back Plan

Retail industry trade groups like a Treasury Department proposal that would simplify the Affordable Care Act’s reporting requirements on large businesses. However, they would like the changes to go even further.

The paperwork involved with Affordable Care Act’s implementation has been anything but easy for businesses. But changes proposed by the U.S. Treasury Department could help ease the law’s IRS reporting processes for large employers—something praised by a number of trade groups.

More details below:

The changes: In a press release on Sept. 5, the Treasury Department offered information on a number of proposed changes to the healthcare reform law’s reporting processes. They include allowing employers to report information on health insurance offerings through W-2 tax forms; not requiring a large employer to determine whether workers are full- or part-time if “adequate coverage is provided to all potentially full-time employees”; and streamlining other processes to reduce the amount of additional reporting needed. “Today’s proposed rules enable us to continue engaging on how best to implement the ACA reporting requirements in a more streamlined and focused manner,” Treasury Assistant Secretary Mark J. Mazur explained in a statement. “We will continue to consider ways, consistent with the law, to simplify the new information reporting process and bring about a smooth implementation of those new rules.”

Associations in support: Large business groups, including the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), spoke favorably of the suggested changes and promised to offer detailed comments on the proposal. However, while both support the measures, they said the law’s language could prove problematic in terms of further streamlining—something both groups are requesting. “While I think the administration would like to simplify [the reporting process], their hands are tied by the statute,” RILA’s Vice President of Government Affairs Christine Pollack told the Wall Street Journal. “This is the opening salvo.”

The earlier, the better: The federal government has delayed full implementation of the “employer mandate,” requiring businesses that have more than a specified number of full-time workers to offer coverage, until January 2015. But that doesn’t mean that employers should put things on the back-burner, the IRS says. As The Hill reported, the Treasury Department is recommending that companies should still work to comply with the law in the coming year, with the goal being “a smoother transition to full implementation in 2015.” The delay nonetheless offers breathing room.

The IRS is requesting public comment on the proposal, something which can be done here.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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