This particular deadline was first set to occur at the end of February, following in line with the 1099 and W-2 deadlines to which we’re all accustomed. But since the IRS felt everyone (themselves included) needed a little more time to understand their ACA reporting and get it in order, they extended each deadline by 2-3 months, giving filers more time to prepare.
So while we’ve already had an ACA deadline this year (back on March 31 with the recipient copies), what we haven’t had is a firm, official ACA deadline for filing with the IRS. Until now.
Your recipient copies, due out by March 31 this year and by January 31 in future years, are good practice for getting the IRS copies of your documents correctly filed the first time through (because they’ll need to be correct for your recipients to make any use of them). They’re not, however, a good example of a hard deadline because unless a recipient reports their 1095 missing or not delivered with the IRS, you’re not really held accountable for getting them out on time.
But, seriously, you might want to make sure that doesn’t happen because you could incur some hefty fines, and the IRS will have to launch an investigation into all of your ACA reporting to ensure you’re compliant with the new laws.
If you’re late on this month’s deadline, you can still get a little bit of a break. May 31 is the paper filing deadline (typically it’ll be February 28/29), but the e-filing deadline isn’t until June 30. Since the IRS doesn’t know/care whether you paper file, you’re welcome to e-file if it’s getting close to May 31 and you’re nowhere near ready.
Okay, so that was a bit of a stretch: the IRS does care if you paper file. They care if you e-file. But what the IRS really cares about is if you don’t do either, which you can read about in our ACA penalties blog so we can get back to the matter at hand.
If you do intend to paper file, make sure that 1) you don’t have more than 250 of any one form (1095-B, 1095-C) to file and 2) you have them signed-sealed-delivered on time:
- Like W-2s, 1099s, and most other IRS information returns, if you have more than 250 forms to file, the IRS requires you e-file them. Which, is kind of a bonus anyway, because it’ll take a lot less time to e-file 250 forms than paper file them, and you get more time to do it!
- If there’s a chance your paper documents will be late, go ahead and plan to e-file. Most ACA e-filing companies (ExpressIRSForms and our affiliates, ExpressACAForms and ACAwise, included) can help you get your e-forms filled out and submitted based on the information you’ve already gathered. In other words, don’t worry if you miss the May 31 deadline; we’ve got your back on this.