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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