Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year from ExpressIRSForms!

And a happy new year it will be, indeed!

A little birdy dropped the word yesterday that the filing deadlines for the new Affordable Care Act forms have been extended from their original dates.

(That birdy was the IRS, by the way, so it was a pretty reputable source on the matter.)

While this is pretty exciting news for some of you filers out there, don’t forget that the early bird gets the worm. Just because you have more time to file, that doesn’t mean things couldn’t go wrong at the last minute. Be sure to use this time wisely so you’re not scrounging around at the eleventh hour.

So what are the new dates? Recipient forms that initially had to be mailed out by February 1, 2016 now need to be mailed no later than March 31, 2016. If you’re paper filing, you would’ve initially had to have your forms to the IRS by February 29, but that deadline’s now May 31, 2016. E-filers will see their deadline extend from March 31 to June 30, 2016.

Keep in mind that this is only for the ACA forms 1094-B/C and 1095-B/C. This does not apply to 1099s, W-2s, or any other information returns which are still due on their regular deadlines. This deadline extension has also only been authorized for 2015 information returns, so future filings will need to be completed sooner in the year.

And another thing to keep in mind: the ExpressIRSForms offices will be closed New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. If you need help during those times, we will be offering emergency email support. We’ll be back taking calls and live chats on Monday, January 4th at 9 a.m. EST.

See you next year!

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Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Tax Filing Deadlines

Welcome back, folks!

We hope you had a great holiday weekend and are looking forward to jumping right into your 2015 tax filings this Monday morning! Oh, who are we kidding? Any one of us would hit a snooze button to delay thinking about filing for at least another week in a heartbeat if we could.

Although, that’s not to say that you can’t: in the spirit of the holidays, we’ll let it slide if you want to put off looking at your filings until next year/week. But before you go popping the champagne early, keep in mind that you’ve got some deadlines coming up. So take a look at the dates below, think about the amount of forms you’ll need to file, and determine if it’s time to own up to the responsibility or if it’s time for a glass of bubbly:

March 31, 2016
March 31st is the date by which copies of the ACA forms you’re filing will need to be sent out to your recipients. Normally, this due date is scheduled for January 31st of the year following the year for which you’re reporting but the IRS has extended this deadline for the 2015 tax year.

May 31, 2016
If you’re paper filing your ACA forms, you’ll need to have them sent to the IRS by May 31st. The official wording of the rule is “the last day of February following the year for which you’re filing,” so in future years, this due date will be February 28th or 29th.

June 30, 2016
And for the e-filers: your ACA forms 1095 and 1094 will need to be transmitted to the IRS by 11:59 p.m. (your time zone) on June 30th. But even though you can literally wait until the last minute to e-file, we recommend giving yourself a few days (or hours at least) to file before the deadline so you can avoid any issues with heavy site traffic or computer errors. And remember: after 2016, this due date will be March 31st of each year.

So be sure to keep these dates in mind as the new year approaches. If you miss one you're required to meet, you could face some serious penalties. You know better than we do how long it’ll take you to complete those  Form 1099s, Form W-2s, or ACA forms (although you might want to knock some of your estimated time off - our name is ExpressIRSForms, after all), so we won’t tell you that you have to start now. But it couldn’t hurt, either.

And if you need any help along the way, give us a call at (704) 839-2270, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, or send us an email anytime at!

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays from ExpressIRSForms!

Happy Christmas Eve Eve from ExpressIRSForms!

Whether you celebrate your winter holidays in the next couple of days or at another time during December (or not at all), we hope your holiday season is filled with comfort and joy in the company of family and friends.

We invite you to take the next couple of days off from your taxes, because that’s what we’re doing too. Our offices will be closed tomorrow (12/24) and Friday (12/25), with phone and chat support resuming during office hours (9-6 EST) on Monday (12/28).

If you really, really need us, email support will be available throughout the weekend. You can reach us at during this time should you have an ExpressIRSForms-related emergency (if it’s the regular kind of emergency, call 911).

Happiest of holidays to you and yours! We’ll see you next week!

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Form 1099 FATCA Update for the 2015 Tax Year

Welcome to another blog post brought to you by ExpressIRSForms to prepare you for the 2015 tax filing year. We’ll keep this one short and sweet: with the shortest day of the year (tomorrow) falling on a short work week like this one, there isn’t time for much more than a quick update. Plus, there’s not that much information to divulge; it really is a quick update from the IRS this time (I know, who’d have thunk?).

If you’re the type to read the General Instructions for Certain Information Returns PDF each year before you file, you probably already noticed the “What’s New” section. If you haven’t caught up on your IRS reading yet, however, here’s what you’re missing:

FATCA -- that’s the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act -- states new filing requirements be completed by certain foreign financial institutions (FFIs) beginning with 2015 tax year filings. So from now on, FFIs with a chapter 4 requirement to report a US account maintained by that FFI and held by a specified US person can fulfill this requirement by checking the box that says “FATCA filing requirement” on the 1099 form they’re filing.

The FATCA filing requirement box is now included on forms 1099-MISC, 1099-INT, and 1099-DIV that have been updated for the 2016 filing season. So if you’re an FFI and this chapter 4 requirement applies to you, be prepared to check an extra box on your 1099s.

Told ya that would be quick. And, as far as new IRS requirements go, it’s a pretty painless one. Now the new Affordable Care Act requirements, those are a different story (but we can help you with those, too).

If you need help with your 1099s, W-2s, ACA forms, or the e-filing process, feel free to reach out to us. We’re available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST through phone (704-839-2270) and live chat, and we have 24/7 email support for any emergencies.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ExpressIRSForms Presents: A Visit From Ace

As the World’s First E-Filing Superhero, Ace has an important and difficult task on his hands: it is his job to inform the world (well, the United States) of the IRS’s new Affordable Care Act forms and how to e-file them through his favorite website, (he’s not on the internet that much). But how could Ace inform all the taxpayers of America AND protect them from his arch-nemesis Confusion unless he expanded his reach beyond the city in which he became the greatest superhero ever? (His words.)

While Ace might have a heart of gold, his brain is more a shade of pyrite (with the exception of his ACA knowledge, of course). This is why, getting lost in translation, Ace bypassed the Land of IRS Forms and came instead to the site of ExpressIRSForms.

Once in the “land” of ExpressIRSForms, Ace went about his business of fighting off Confusion wherever she reared her disorienting head. He split up fights over whether the ACA or Obamacare was better and went from taxpayer to taxpayer, telling them the information they needed for the new forms. He even made a public service announcement to try to eliminate Confusion on a larger scale, but now he’s not so sure he had the broadcast set up correctly.

Using his detective-level sleuthing skills, Ace was able to find a way to get in touch with the ExpressIRSForms “government” and tell them all the things he needed to make sure their taxpayers knew before filing for the 2015 year.

After going into further detail about each form, 1095-B and 1095-C, Ace considered his job done and left the ExpressIRSForms office rather abruptly. As he left, however, he did have one final message for the taxpayers:

So if you find yourself bogged down by Confusion’s influence while e-filing, give one of Ace’s “sidekicks” a call here at ExpressIRSForms. We’re available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST for phone (704-839-2270) and live chat support. We’re also here 24/7 to help out via email at

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Marriage and Taxes

Depending on who you talk to, “marriage and taxes” may just be one step up from “death and taxes.” But we’re not those people; ExpressIRSForms hasn’t been around long enough to be that jaded yet.

While there are many wonderful and fun things about marriage, it’s important to know that tying the knot affects your taxes as much as it affects your living situation (and, you know, the rest of your life). But before we get started on the changes, it’s important to note that marriage is a time-honored tradition of love and companionship, not a tax break. It’s true you get some benefits from the IRS when you’re married, but those aren’t the benefits you should focus on when deciding to get hitched.

Filing Status
If you’re legally married on December 31, you’re considered legally married for the full year in the eyes of the IRS, which is probably good news for the procrastinating elopers out there. More importantly, this means that you must file your taxes for that year as either “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” Generally, filing jointly provides the most beneficial tax outcome for the majority of couples. Keep in mind though, that if you’re married and file a joint return, your income is combined, which could bump one or both of you into a higher tax bracket with a higher rate of tax imposed on your income.

Document Changes
In addition to your change in filing status, a few other changes will need to be made to make sure your tax filing is accurate. If you’re planning on filing jointly, it may be wise to change your Form W-4 on file with your employer to reflect your new status. Claiming an additional allowance and/or changing withholding to the “married” rate means that less taxes are withheld from your pay. If you changed your name when you got married, you’ll need to make sure you’ve notified the Social Security Administration (SSA). Your return is filed under your Social Security number, so to avoid any errors or mismatches, wait until the name change process is complete to file your tax returns.

Exemptions and Standard Deduction
If you file jointly as a married couple, you get to claim two personal exemptions (one for each of you) on the tax return instead of one. Additionally, a dependent exemption is allowed for each child claimed as a dependent on the tax return. Filing jointly, you also have the highest standard deduction allowed on a tax return. For 2015, single taxpayers and married taxpayers filing separately are allowed a standard deduction of $6,300 whereas married couples filing jointly are allowed $12,600. However, once you’re married and own a home, many people find that it’s more advantageous to itemize their deductions rather than claim the standard deduction.

The Affordable Care Act
One day a blog post will go by where we don’t mention the Affordable Care Act, but today is not that day. With the ACA, you’re eligible to receive an advance tax credit to help pay your health insurance premiums if you purchase insurance through a Marketplace. If you or your new spouse receive advance payments of this credit, you should report your marriage (and any moves or change in income or family size) to the Marketplace so they can adjust your advance credit payments if necessary.

Whether you’re wrapped up in newlywed bliss or secretly loving that you’re now the cranky old married couple of the neighborhood, it’s important to remain informed when you file your tax returns. At ExpressIRSForms, we’re here to help in any way we can with the e-filing process. Just send us an email 24/7 at You can also live chat us or give us a call Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, at (704) 839-2270.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

E-Sign Form W-9 With ExpressIRSForms

You may have noticed that ExpressIRSForms now offers e-signing for Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. Now you may be wondering exactly what Form W-9 is, whether or not you need to file it, or even why we said “e-sign” instead of “e-file.” Well if you’re wondering any of those things, this blog is for you.

Purpose of Form W-9
From W-9 is used by individuals or entities who are required to file an information return (like a W-2 or 1099) with the IRS; the W-9 is used to obtain the correct taxpayer identification number (TIN) needed for the specific return they’re filing. The TIN needed is usually a social security number (SSN), individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), or employer identification number (EIN). By using Form W-9 to obtain a correct TIN, payers can report on an information return the amount paid to each payee (employee, contractor, recipient, etc.) as accurately and smoothly as possible.

Who Needs to File?
Technically, Form W-9 is never filed with the IRS. Instead of providing information to the IRS, it was created to provide information to those filing with the IRS. Anyone who needs to file a W-2, 1099, or other information return but doesn’t have the TIN for the payee for whom the return is filed needs to submit a Form W-9 to that payee. The payee then fills out Form W-9, signs it, and returns it to the payer. The payer (usually an employer) then keeps the W-9 on file to use for filings of future information returns.

E-Signing Form W-9
Form W-9 used to come in a giant stack of paperwork that had to be filled out at the beginning of each job you started, contracted work you began, or investment you made. It still might these days, but there is an electronic alternative many payers are choosing to utilize. One such electronic alternative is ExpressIRSForms. Rather than passing out or mailing paper W-9 forms, you can use ExpressIRSForms to securely email a W-9 to your recipient. Once they’ve filled it out and e-signed it, you’ll be notified by email, and the form will be updated in your ExpressIRSForms account. You can then save a PDF of this form to your computer or print a hard copy for your records.

Form W-9 has joined the growing lineup of forms offered by ExpressIRSForms, which includes 1099s, W-2s, Affordable Care Act Forms, and correction and extension forms. Take a look at today to see how we can help you in the upcoming filing season! And if you need any help along the way, we’re available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST by phone at (704) 839-2270 or by live chat through our website. We also provide 24/7 customer service through email at

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Year-End Tax Strategies

December is busy enough without having to worry about the tax deadlines looming just around the New Year corner, but you might want to consider taking the time to look over what you’ll be filing before January. There are a host of tax-related decisions that need to be made by December 31st or else they won’t be applicable to your 2015 tax returns when it comes time to file.

Take a look at some of these year-end tax strategies to see how to make the most out of your 2015 return:

Consider Deferring Income
If you’re self-employed and have had a particularly good year, it might make sense to defer some of that income until 2016 to reduce 2015’s tax burden. Just wait until late December to issue invoices instead of early in the month, ensuring you won’t receive payment (or have to pay taxes on that income) until next year. Similarly, if you’re getting a big year-end bonus, you may be able to ask your boss to delay that until after January so that you don’t take the tax hit on your income until 2016.

Pay Your Taxes Now
Believe it or not, you get a deduction on your taxes just for paying your taxes. This includes property taxes as well as estimated state taxes that can be deducted on a federal tax return. If you prepay your estimated taxes before April, you can deduct that tax payment in some situations.

Donate to Charity
Any charitable giving must be done by the end of the year to be claimed on your tax returns. This means you may need to plan ahead on any donations you’re making to ensure they’re done by New Year’s Day. But procrastinators rejoice: you can claim any donations made by credit card as late as 11:59 p.m. on December 31st. As long as your receipt shows processing before midnight, you can claim the donation in tax year 2015.

Sell Your Bad Investments
Referred to as “loss harvesting,” selling a bad investment to offset profits from a good investment can make a lot of sense. The IRS calculates capital gains on a net basis year to year, so if you have one investment that made $10,000, you can avoid paying taxes on the profit if you have $10,000 in losses elsewhere to zero it out. Considering capital gains taxes can be as high as 39.6% for top earners, selling underperformers can be a powerful way to keep more of your profits from good investments.

Take Your RMDs
If you’re 70.5 years or older, the government requires you to start drawing down your tax-sheltered retirement plans like an IRA via required minimum distributions (RMDs) each year. If you don’t withdraw this minimum amount, you may take a hefty penalty of as much as 50% on the sum you should have withdrawn. Make sure you consult your tax professional or consult the IRS website for more details on your specific RMD figure to prevent leaving money on the table. RMDs vary based on age and how much you have saved.

Bonus Tip
Is your company planning a holiday party this year? Head on over to the ExpressExtension blog to find out how you can write off the money you spend on a holiday party as an entertainment expense!

For more tax tips or any help in your e-filing process, feel free to contact the ExpressIRSForms support team, located in Rock Hill, South Carolina. We’re available by phone (704-839-2270) and live chat through our website Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We also offer 24/7 assistance through email at

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Holiday Movies Available on Netflix this December

December is finally here! With Halloween and Thanksgiving out of the way, the real holiday season can now be celebrated in full force!

Traditions are a big part of celebrating this month. Whether you’re making the same trek over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house or creating some new traditions of your own, you can take part in our new tradition to share the holiday-themed movies streaming on Netflix so that you can have a month filled with holiday cheer!

During our last holiday special, we featured horror movies available to stream to celebrate Halloween. Now, grab your family or some friends, a cozy blanket, and relax and feel the love this December! Funny, heartwarming, and maybe a little scary at times (who wasn’t terrified of ghost-Marley from A Christmas Carol as a kid?), these movies are sure to put you in the holiday spirit:
12/1: Love Actually (2003)
12/2: Saving Santa (2013)
12/3: I’ll Be Home for Christmas
12/4: A Very Murray Christmas
12/5: Happy Christmas (2014)
12/6: Prince of Egypt (1998)
12/7: One Magic Christmas
12/8: Get Santa (2014)
12/9: The Radio City Christmas
        Spectacular (2007)
12/10: A Christmas Carol (1938)
12/11: Hook (1991)
12/12: Dear Santa (2011)
12/13: While You Were
          Sleeping (1995)
12/14: Bad Santa (2003)
12/15: Fitzgerald Family
          Christmas (2012)
12/16: Planes, Trains, and
          Automobiles (1987)
12/17: The Muppet Christmas
          Carol (1992)
12/18: Christmas with the
          Kranks (2004)
12/19: Ernest Saves Christmas
12/20: 12 Dates of Christmas
12/21: White Christmas
12/22: The Legend of Frosty
          the Snowman (2004)
12/23: Scrooged (1988)
12/24: The Nightmare Before
          Christmas (1994)
12/25: Mickey’s Once Upon a
          Christmas (1999)
12/26: Bridget Jones’ Diary
12/27: Santa Buddies (2009)
12/28: Snowmen (2010)
12/29: Serendipity (2001)
12/30: The Ref (1994)
12/31: Trading Places (1983)

Are any of your holiday favorites listed above? Personally, I’m a little disappointed National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation isn’t available to stream, but c’est la vie! At any rate, A Very Murray Christmas shouldn’t disappoint.

And when you’re not in the middle of a movie, if you have any questions or need help e-filing, you can contact the friendly ExpressIRSForms support team at our office located in Rock Hill, SC. You can call (704) 839-2270, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, or send us an email 24/7 at

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Monday, November 30, 2015

ACA Forms: The Benefits of E-filing with ExpressIRSForms

We’ll be back to your regularly scheduled blogs after this final ACA-themed one! We’ve gone over the basics of the ACA forms, and delved more into Forms 1095-B and 1095-C. We’ve even talked about what your employees and recipients need to know about the Affordable Care Act information returns.

But even after all of the long talks we’ve had, what real reason do you have to e-file your ACA returns this year and in years to come? Well, this is the blog post where we give you a few reasons to file with us, starting with…

The 250 Rule
If you’re filing more than 250 of either Form 1095-B or 1095-C, the IRS requires you to e-file your forms. Although the IRS will tell you they do recommend e-filing regardless of how many forms you’re filing, because e-filing is a speedier process and leaves less room for error. And since the IRS recommends us too (we were one of the first e-filing services to be IRS-authorized for e-filing ACA forms!), it only seems right that you use ExpressIRSForms to e-file.

No Form 1094
When you paper file Forms 1095-B and 1095-C, you have to include a transmittal Form 1094-B or 1094-C. Think of it as a cover letter that summarizes all of the information in the forms you’re filing. When you e-file, there’s no need for this form since you’re not sending a stack of papers through the mail. Fill out fewer forms: e-file with ExpressIRSForms.

It’s Pretty Easy...
Like our other tax products, it was important to us that our clients have the simplest filing experience ever with ExpressIRSForms. Our program will walk you through your forms step by step, providing helpful hints and guidelines along the way. We’ll also perform an error check before you transmit your forms to make sure everything gets filed correctly the first time around.

...And It’s Free!
That’s right! It’s absolutely free to e-file the optional 2014 ACA information returns with ExpressIRSForms. It’s always free to create an account with us, and since these ACA forms are brand new, we thought our users might like a free trial with them. Just create your account, choose the form you’d like to fill out, and see how easy it is to e-file with us at no cost to you. Your recipient information will also be saved securely in your account with our cloud-based software, so in a month or so when you do your 2015 ACA returns, you can complete your e-filing in just a matter of clicks!

Lastly, The Service
At ExpressIRSForms, our customer service is second to none. We’re available by phone all year (not just during tax season!), Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST at (704) 839-2270. We also offer live chat through our website during these hours and email support at 24/7. Our US-based headquarters in Rock Hill, SC offers complimentary support in English and Spanish. Whatever your e-filing need, we’re here to help!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from ExpressIRSForms!

Let all of us at ExpressIRSForms be the first to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving! We’d also like to extend our gratitude for each and every one of our customers this holiday season. Without your support for ExpressTaxFilings, we never could have grown into the team we are today. And with even more more forms added to our same quick and easy e-filing service, we know you’ll love filing this tax season with ExpressIRSForms!

(Okay, maybe “love” is a strong word, but “Your tax filing season will be the most bearable one yet” just sounds dull.)

Our office will be open during regular business hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m today, November 25 with phone (704-839-2270), live chat, and email support. We will be closed tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, and on Friday, November 27th. Email support will be back up and running on Friday and throughout the weekend at

Thank you again for choosing ExpressIRSForms. We appreciate your business and wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

ACA Forms 1094-C and 1095-C

Welcome to Part Three of the ExpressIRSForms blog series on the soon-to-be required Affordable Care Act IRS forms. Last week we went over Forms 1094-B and 1095-B, which are filed by health insurance providers; and today, we’ll dive right on into Form 1095-C for Applicable Large Employers!

Who Needs to File?
Well, as we said above, Form 1095-C is filed by Applicable Large Employers. But just who is “Applicable”? When we use the term “Applicable Large Employer,” or ALE, we’re referring to employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, in the previous year. ALEs are required to file Form 1095-C by the ACA and the IRS in order to report offers of health coverage and enrollment in health coverage for their employees. Additionally, Form 1095-C is used in determining whether an employer owes payment under the employer shared responsibility provisions under section 4980H.

If you’re an employer who offers employer-sponsored self-insured coverage to your employees, you’ll also need to report information to the IRS on Form 1095-C. You’ll report information to the IRS and your employees about their minimum essential coverage (MEC) under the employer plan.

What Information is Needed?
In order to complete Form 1095-C, you will need the following information:
  • The name, SSN, and complete address of your employee
  • The name, EIN, complete address, and contact number of the employer
  • Plan Start Month for the specific employee
  • The Offer of Coverage code applicable to this employee
  • The amount of the Employee Share of Lowest Cost Monthly Premium per month
  • If applicable, a Section 4980H Safe Harbor code
  • The names and SSNs or birth dates for all covered individuals (spouse, dependents, etc.) and the months in which they were covered
E-Filing vs. Paper Filing
As an e-filing service, we’re a little biased about which way we think you should go when you’re filing. But don’t just take our word that e-filing is the better way to go; the IRS recommends everyone e-file as well, since it’s quicker, easier, and cuts down on errors and paper usage. And keep in mind that if you have 250 or more returns to file, you’re required to e-file and could face penalties if you don’t.

If you decide to stick to your guns and paper file anyway, remember that Form 1094-C must be sent along to the IRS with all of your 1095-C forms. Form 1094-C, the Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns form, is essentially a cover sheet for your 1095-C forms. On this form, you’ll include all of your identifying contact information, the total number of Forms 1095-C you’re submitting, and the total number of full-time employees enrolled in at least the MEC for each month. When you e-file with ExpressIRSForms, we’ll automatically fill out a virtual copy of Form 1094-C based on the information you enter and send it to the IRS with your 1095-C forms.

Form 1095-C Deadlines
As an employer, you’re probably already used to mailing out information returns (like W-2s) in January and again in February or March. The ACA forms are due around the same deadlines. Forms 1095-C are sent out at the beginning of each year to report on the previous year, and your employees will need to receive their copy by January 31st. In 2016, however, these forms will be due by February 1st, since January 31st is a Sunday.

If you’re paper filing, your Forms 1094- and 1095-C will need need to be filed with the IRS by the last day of February following the year in which the returns reference. And if you’re e-filing, these forms will need to be sent to the IRS by March 31st.

If you have any other questions regarding Form 1095-C, any of the other ACA forms, or the e-filing process, don’t hesitate to reach out to the ExpressIRSForms support team. We’re available by phone (704-839-2270) and live chat Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We’re also available 24/7 via email support at!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

ACA Forms 1094-B and 1095-B

When we last met around the ExpressIRSForms blog fireplace, we scratched the surface of the new Affordable Care Act forms that are required to be filed beginning in 2016 with the 2015 tax year. As a part of our ACA blog series, we’re going to focus today on Form 1095-B.

Who Needs to File?
Usually when we talk about who needs to file the IRS’s ACA forms, we talk about employers. While most employers will need to file, Form 1095-B is for the providers of insurance who aren’t employers. Form 1095-B is filed by every person that provides MEC to an individual during a calendar year. Health insurance issuers and carriers must file this for most health insurance coverage, including individual market coverage, coverage for employees obtained through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), and insured coverage sponsored by employers (this refers to smaller employers who aren’t required to file themselves).

This may seem like a lot, however, there are some instances when you won’t need to report information to the IRS. Insurance issuers and carriers don’t need to report coverage provided under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid, Medicare (including Medicare Advantage), or the Basic Health Program; these types of coverage are reported by the government sponsors of these programs. You also aren’t required to file Form 1095-B to report coverage in individual market qualified health plans that individuals enroll in through Health Insurance Marketplaces.

What Information is Needed?
In order to complete Form 1095-B, you will need the following information:
  • The complete name, EIN, address, telephone number, and contact information of the filer (that’s you)
  • The total number of Forms 1095-B that you’re filing
  • The complete name, SSN or date of birth, and address of each recipient
  • If you’re reporting Employer Sponsored Coverage or coverage provided by another issuer, you’ll need their name, EIN, address, and contact information
  • What type of coverage was offered to your recipients broken down by month

E-Filing vs. Paper Filing
If you need to file 250 or more 1095-B forms, you will have to e-file. The IRS recommends e-filing anyway because e-filing is generally quicker, easier, and leaves less room for error. Plus, think of all the paper you’ll save. If, however, you must file by paper, Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, must be sent to the IRS along with your 1095-B forms. On this form, you’ll include all of your identifying and contact information, as well as the number of 1095-B forms accompanying your Form 1094-B. When you e-file with ExpressIRSForms, we’ll automatically fill out a virtual copy of Form 1094-B based on the information you enter and send it to the IRS with your 1095-B forms.

Form 1095-B Deadlines
Your 1095-B forms will be sent out at the beginning of each year to report on the previous year, similar to income tax returns. Your recipients will need to receive their copies of Form 1095-B by January 31st. In 2016, however, they will be due by February 1st, since January 31st is a Sunday. If you’re paper filing, your Forms 1094- and 1095-B will need to be filed with the IRS by the last day of February; and if you’re e-filing, these forms will need to be sent to the IRS by March 31st.

If you have any other questions regarding Form 1095-B, any of the other ACA forms, or the e-filing process, don’t hesitate to reach out to the ExpressIRSForms support team. We’re available by phone (704-839-2270) and live chat Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We’re also available 24/7 via email support at!

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Affordable Care Act Forms: An Overview

Coming this tax season to the best* IRS-authorized e-filing service (ExpressIRSForms) are the newly required Affordable Care Act Forms 1094-B, 1094-C, 1095-B, and 1095-C. These forms were created by the IRS so that insurance providers (including government-sponsored programs, eligible employer-sponsored plans, and individual market plans) could report certain health care coverage information to the IRS and to their recipients.

So what are these forms all about anyway? Well, ExpressIRSForms is here to answer your questions. Our next few blogs will be ACA-themed to get you as prepared as possible for filing these new forms! Today, we’ll start with the basics and a general overview of the forms.

Form 1094
Form 1094 is the transmittal form, and will normally only be filled out by you if you’re paper filing. Most e-filing services (ExpressIRSForms included) will automatically fill out Form 1094 for you and transmit it to the IRS along with your other forms. Form 1094 contains a general summary of the information about the minimum essential health care coverage you offer found on the 1095 forms you submit.

Form 1095
You can think of a 1095 form as a W-2 for health care coverage: it breaks down the health care coverage offered to and received by your recipients by month for the previous year, and you’ll send a copy of it to your recipient while the original goes to the IRS. All of your 1095 forms are sent together to the IRS along with the 1094 transmittal form.

B or C?
The letters attached to the numbers 1094 and 1095 on these forms help the IRS to identify your contractual relationship with your health care recipients. If you’re a health insurance issuer or carrier, you’ll file Forms 1094-B and 1095-B. If you’re an Applicable Large Employer (ALE), you’ll file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. ALEs are employers with at least 50 full-time employees or full-time equivalents; these employers must offer at least the minimum essential coverage of health care to their employees according to the Affordable Care Act.

If you want to go ahead and get started working with new ACA forms, you can use ExpressIRSForms to begin filing the optional 2014 year absolutely free! And since our software is cloud-based, all of your contact information will be saved in your Address Book; that way, in a few months when you’re working on your 2015 returns, you can be finished in a matter of clicks.

And if you have any questions about the ACA forms or e-filing for any of our other information returns, feel free to reach out to us! We’re available by live chat via our website and by phone at (704) 839-2270, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We also offer 24/7 email support at

*Study results may be biased

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Special Tax Considerations for Veterans

Happy Veterans Day! And a huge thank you to the veterans out there from all of us here at ExpressIRSForms!

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday that honors people who have served or currently serve in the armed forces. Every year, on the 11th of November, we take the time to acknowledge the brave men and women who ask for little recognition for putting themselves in harm’s way to preserve our freedoms and way of life.

The IRS recognizes our soldiers with significant tax return benefits. As with all deductions and credits, it’s important to familiarize yourself with them so that you can make the most of your tax return. We’ve provided a few tips for you below, and for an overview of all the tax considerations related to military service, you can check out IRS Publication 3 - Armed Forces’ Tax Guide.

Veterans With Disabilities
If you’re a disabled veteran, you may be eligible to claim a federal tax refund based on an increase in your percentage of disability from the Department of Veteran Affairs or if you applied for and were granted Combat-Related Special Compensation after an award for Concurrent Retirement and Disability. Special tax considerations for disabled veterans occasionally result in a need for amended returns.

VA Disability Benefits
You should not include disability benefits you receive from the VA in your gross income. Payments which are considered disability benefits include:
  • Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid either to veterans or their families
  • Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
  • Grants for motor vehicles for veterans who lost their sight or the use of their limbs
  • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program
The VA has created an eBenefits portal where you can apply for many of these benefits online.

Combat Zone Provisions
If you serve in a combat zone, the military pay you earn while serving in that combat zone is excluded from your gross income for tax purposes. This means that your pay earned during this period is effectively tax-free. Nontaxable income, however, is capped at the highest enlisted pay level plus hostile fire or imminent danger pay, which is then added onto your salary. Combat pay exclusions are only available for service members who are on active duty or who are recovering from injuries sustained while on active duty.

Military Family Tax Relief Act
When the Military Family Tax Relief Act was passed in 2003, it created the following tax breaks for military personnel:
  • Death Benefits. Death gratuity paid to survivors is $12,000 and is nontaxable effective for deaths occurring after September 10, 2001.
  • Sale of Principal Residence. Suspends the 5-year ownership-and-use period prior to the sale of a residence.
  • Deduction for Overnight Travel Expenses of National Guard and Reserve Members. Reservists who report for service and stay overnight at a place that is more than 100 miles away from their residence may deduct reimbursement travel expenses, like gas, food, and lodging.
  • Combat Zone Extensions Expanded to Contingency Operations. As of November 11, 2003, extensions given to service members in combat zones are also granted to personnel serving in a contingency operation.
  • Dependent Care Assistance Programs. Dependent care assistance programs for military personnel are excludable benefits.
  • Military Academy Attendees. The 10% tax on payments from a Qualified Tuition Program or Coverdell Education Savings Account that are not used for educational expenses does not apply to attendees of the US Military, Naval, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Merchant Marine Academies, so long as the payments do not exceed the costs of advanced education. This is effective for tax years after 2002.
So from all of us here at ExpressIRSForms, let us once again say thank you to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces. If there’s any way we can help with your e-filing, let us know by giving us a call at (704) 839-2270 or live chatting us through our website, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We’re also here 24/7 at

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

ACA Forms: What Your Employees Should Know

When we talk about the new Affordable Care Act IRS Forms 1094 and 1095, we tend to be focused a lot on the employers and the providers of minimum essential health care coverage. It’s understandable; a lot of things are changing this year, which means a lot of new responsibilities for providers and employers.

But what about the employees? What do your employees need to know about the new ACA filing requirements?

The more an employer can do to educate their employees about the forms and their purpose, the less likely they are to deal with confused and frustrated employees. You may even want to consider sending out a memo or having a meeting to explain these forms and how they’ll affect your employees.

Your employees should know that the ACA requires all employers with 50 or more full time employees are required to provide affordable health coverage to their employees, and that employees will receive a form (Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C) in January, around the same time as their Form W-2. Let them know that this form indicates that they had health care coverage for all 12 months, unless they declined enrollment or an error has been made. Tell your employees who is responsible for handling errors should they occur. If they do, that person will need to update the employee’s copy of Form 1095, as well as the copy transmitted to the IRS.

You can stress the importance of these ACA forms without stressing out your employees. Make sure there’s someone on your staff - and it can be the same person who handles errors - who can answer questions your employees may have when going over their ACA forms.

And if you need any help with ACA forms or keeping stress-free when you file them, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. ExpressIRSForms is here for you every step of the way: just give us a call at (704) 839-2270 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; live chat us through our website; or send us an email 24/7 at!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Riddle Me This: Are You Ready for Tax Season?

Riddles are wonderful little brain enhancers. But when riddles could affect your tax return - and subsequently cause you penalties for getting them wrong - they tend to lose their charm.

That’s why ExpressIRSForms is committed to turning the riddles of the IRS’s tax jargon into directions that aren’t so... riddle-culous. The only time you should face any real penalties because of a riddle is if a sphinx is asking. Go ahead and create a free account through ExpressIRSForms and see just how easy it is to complete and e-file your information tax returns!

And even if you get into the program and things start to seem like they were written by one of Batman’s foes, the ExpressIRSForms support team will come to the rescue! Just give us a call at (704) 839-2270, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’re also available by live chat through our website, and we offer 24/7 email support at

So now that we’ve set your mind at ease about these IRS forms, here are a few riddles to help get your mind in shape for the upcoming tax season:

  1. Paul’s height is six feet, he’s an assistant at a butcher’s shop, and wears size 9 shoes. What does he weigh?
  2. What kind of tree can you carry in your hand?
  3. If you have me, you want to share me. If you share me, you haven’t got me. What am I
  4. Forward I am heavy, but backward I am not. What am I?
  5. Imagine you are in a dark room. How do you get out?
  6. A girl who was just learning to drive went down a one-way street in the wrong direction, but didn’t break the law. How come?
  7. And the toughie: You have been given the task of transporting 3,000 apples 1,000 miles from Appleland to Bananaville. Your truck can carry 1,000 apples at a time. Every time you travel a mile towards Bananaville you must pay a tax of 1 apple but you pay nothing when going towards Appleland. What is the highest number of apples you can get to Bananaville?

  1. Meat
  2. A palm tree
  3. A secret
  4. A ton
  5. Stop imagining
  6. She was walking.
  7. 833. You drive the first 334 miles starting with 1,000 apples in each load, leaving you with 1,998 apples remaining at 334 miles. Now you can continue with two loads of 999 apples until mile 833, where you’ll have 1,000 apples remaining. Drive the remaining 167 miles to Bananaville, where you’ll arrive with 833 apples.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

November at EIRSF: Giving Thanks, #NonProfitNovember, and Tax Law Reforms

Good morning, and happy November: the oft-forgotten month between Halloween Month and Christmas Month!

It’s sort of understandable that November tends to get lost in the midst of the season that begins with candy and costumes and ends with presents and Christmas cheer. But there are plenty of fun and celebratory things about November: Thanksgiving, and all that delicious food, for instance, and a host of movements like No Shave November and #NonProfitNovember, which you can read more about over at the ExpressTaxExempt blog.

And maybe most importantly, November is election month. Even in off years like this one, citizens of different states will still find themselves at the polls on a day in November to vote on local and state issues. At least, they will if they want to have a say in their tax laws and policies:

Voters in Washington state will decide this November whether to cut the state sales tax from 6.5% to 5.5%, if the legislature does not place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to require a 2/3 vote of the legislature to raise other taxes. This measure is almost certain to be challenged in court if it passes.

In the state of Colorado this year, $58 million in tax revenue was generated from sales of legal marijuana. Now, Colorado voters will have to decide whether to allow the state to keep it. Under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, passed in 1992, Colorado is required to refund tax revenues that exceed state budget estimates. If voters reject this year’s measure, the $58 million will be refunded by cutting taxes on marijuana sales and through rebates to growers and taxpayers.

It’s common knowledge that public schools are taxpayer funded, but this month Mississippi voters will vote on two measures that would dramatically alter the way the state pays for public education. One measure requires the state to fund “an adequate and efficient system of free public schools.” The alternative, put on the ballot by the legislature, would give lawmakers the ability to fund schools at their discretion.

Oregon voters will vote on two tax changes this month. For the Grants Pass sales tax, voters will decide on a 2% sales tax to generate money for public-safety services; and for the Pendleton gas tax, the city is seeking a 10-year fuel tax of 5 cents a gallon to raise money for street repairs and maintenance.

Even if your state isn’t listed above, keep in mind that a lot of places have local- and state-level elections each November that are every bit as important as the almost-overly-publicized presidential elections. Stay informed on what’s going on where you live so that you can have a say in how things are run.

And if you need any help running things on, just reach out to our friendly customer service team; we’re always happy to help keep you up to date and in the loop. Give us a call Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at (704) 839-2270 or live chat us through the site. We’re also here 24/7 by email at

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