Thursday, June 30, 2016

How to Claim a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Last week, we asked if your small business was eligible for a health care tax credit. Today, we’re going to answer some of your questions about obtaining that tax credit.

How does an employer claim the credit?
If you’re a small business owner, you can claim the credit on your annual income tax return. You’ll also need to attach Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums. This form shows your calculation of the credit.

If an employer’s tax-exempt, how would they claim the credit?
If you’re a tax-exempt business, as described in sections 501(c) and 501(a), you can claim the credit by filing Form 990-T (Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return) with Form 8941. Even if your business doesn’t normally file Form 990-T, you’ll need to file this form to claim the credit.

Can I use this credit to offset my alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability?
Yes; the short answer is that the credit can be used to offset your AMT liability. However, this is subject to certain limitations based on the amount of your regular tax liability in addition to your AMT liability and other allowable credits. For the long answer, consult section 38(c)(1) of the IRS’s Internal Revenue Code.

Can the credit be reflected in determining my estimated tax payments for the year?
Yes, another short, sweet answer directly from the IRS.

Does taking the credit affect my deduction for health insurance premiums?
Again, yes. When you determine your allowable deduction for health insurance premiums, you’ll need to subtract the amount of the credit from the amount of premiums that can be deducted. This way, you can claim both a credit and partial deduction for the same premium payments.

E-filing with ExpressIRSForms
Remember: today’s the last day to e-file your ACA return with the IRS and still be considered on time. You can e-file your ACA forms through your ExpressIRSForms account. And if you have any questions, we’re available by phone (704-684-4751) and live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. We’re also available 24/7 at

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Determining Full-Time Employees Under the Affordable Care Act

This week, we’ve been talking primarily about how to properly calculate the amount of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) you have working for you and their total number of hours worked as well as average annual wages as directed by the IRS. But as you begin looking at your employees, you may find yourself asking if there are certain workers that you should consider in your totals. So today we’re going to take a look at whether or not certain employees should be included in your total full-time employee count.

Seasonal Workers
When calculating your employees’ hours, seasonal workers generally will not factor into your total FTE count or average annual wage. Seasonal workers only perform labor or provide services on a seasonal basis, like retail workers who’re employed exclusively during holiday seasons. According to the IRS, it’s up to you to determine by a “reasonable, good faith interpretation of the term ‘seasonal worker’” who your seasonal workers are. Just keep in mind that if your seasonal worker provides services for more than 120 days during the year, they will need to be included in your total count.

Part-time Employees
Unlike seasonal workers, part-time employees are included in your total FTE count and average annual wage for the tax year. So include them when you’re tallying up your employees’ hours to determine how many FTEs you employ.

Leased Employees
Leased employees, like temps, are those employees you have who aren’t employees of your company but are providing services for your company through an agreement you’ve made with the organization who leases their services. When you calculate your FTE total and average annual salary, you will need to include your leased employees.

E-filing with ExpressIRSForms
Be sure to hurry and submit your ACA return with ExpressIRSForms as soon as possible - the deadline is tomorrow, June 30! If you have any questions or need assistance with your filing, you can contact our expert support team by live chat or phone (704-684-4751) Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET or send us an email anytime to

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Full-Time Employee Service Hours: How to Add Them Up

Yesterday, we gave you the basic formula for calculating your employees’ total hours worked so that you could assess how many full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) you employ. It’s important to know the exact number of FTEs working for you for the sake of filing your Affordable Care Act return. When totaling your employees’ hours worked, you’ll want to make sure you’re calculating them in one of the three IRS-allowed ways to ensure your ACA compliance.

Before we get down to the types of calculation, let’s clarify what’s included in hours of service. Obviously, it’s hours spent working by the employee, but hours of service also include hours for which the employee is paid for:
  • vacation or holiday,
  • illness or incapacity (including disability),
  • layoff,
  • jury duty, and
  • military duty or leave of absence.
When calculating your total hours of service, do not include hours for seasonal employees (who work less than 120 days).

Actual Hours Worked
The most straight-forward method, the Actual Hours Worked calculation method determines the actual hours of service from records of hours your employees worked and were paid. So if your payroll records indicate an employee worked 2,000 hours and was paid for an additional 80 hours (for vacation, holiday, and illness leave), the employee would have worked 2,080 hours of service for the year.

Days-Worked Equivalency
If you use the Days-Worked Equivalency method, you’ll credit an employee with eight hours of service for each day the employee was required to work at least one hour of service, including hours of paid leave. In other words, if you use this method and you have an employee who works from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each day for 200 days, the employee would be credited with 1,600 hours of service (8 hours for each day worked, multiplied by 200 days).

Weeks-Worked Equivalency
This method is a little similar to our previous one, only it goes by weeks instead of days. When you use the Weeks-Worked Equivalency method, you credit an employee with 40 hours of service for each week for which payment is made or due (including weeks of paid leave). For example, if you have an employee who worked 49 weeks and took two weeks of vacation with pay, the employee must be credited with 2,040 hours of service (51 weeks x 40 hours/week).

E-filing With ExpressIRSForms
When you e-file with ExpressIRSForms, you have access to our full-time employee calculator, making your ACA e-filing that much easier. To get started, just create an account, then follow the steps to generate and e-file your forms. If you run into any problems or have a question, you can give our expert customer service team a call at (704) 684-4751 Monday through Friday, 9;00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET or send us an email anytime to

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Monday, June 27, 2016

How to Determine Average Annual Wages of Your Full-Time Employees

Whether or not you need to file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C is determined by your total number of full-time employees. The average annual wages you pay your employees also figures into your ACA compliance, so it’s important to be able to correctly calculate not only your total of full-time employees but their collective wages as well.

What is a Full-Time Equivalent Employee (FTE)?
A full-time equivalent employee (FTE) is an employee whose hours of paid service equal or exceed the 30-hour per week full-time standard for employees as outlined by the IRS. An FTE can be one employee who works more than 30 hours a week, or can be made up of two or more part-time employees whose combined hours exceed 30 hours.

Who is Considered an Employee when Determining FTEs and Average Annual Wage?
Generally, all of your employees will be taken into consideration when determining your FTE total and average annual FTE wages. This includes employees who terminated employment during the tax year, employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement, and employees not enrolled in your health care coverage.

Can I be Counted as an Employee if I Own My Small Business?
No. Additionally, the following individuals are not considered employees for the purposes of the credit:
  • Any other owners of the business, like sole proprietors, partners, or shareholders who own greater than 2% of an S corporation or 5% of a C corporation
  • Spouses of the owners
  • Family members of the owners, including children, grandchildren, [step] siblings, [step] parents, nieces/nephews, aunts/uncles, son/daughter-in-laws, father/mother-in-laws, brother/sister-in-laws
  • Spouses of family members of the owners

How is the Number of FTEs Determined?
To determine your FTEs:
  1. Add up the total hours of service you pay wages to employees during the year (not to exceed 2,080 hrs/employee).
  2. Divide that amount by 2,080.
  3. If necessary, round to the next lowest whole number. If your result is less than one, round up to one.
Example: An employer pays five employees for 2,080 hours each and three employees for 1,040 hours each:
  1. (5 x 2,080) + (3 x 1,040) = 13,520
  2. 13,520 / 2,080 = 6.5
  3. The employer has six FTEs

How are the Average Annual Wages Determined?
When determining the average annual wages, all wages paid to employees, including overtime, are taken into consideration:
  1. Add up the total wages you paid during the taxable year to your employees.
  2. Divide that by the number of FTEs you had during the year.
  3. If necessary, round your result down to the nearest $1,000.
Example: An employer pays a total of $224,000 in wages to employees and has 10 FTEs.
  1. $224,000 / 10 = $22,400
  2. The employer’s average annual wages are $22,000

E-filing with ExpressIRSForms
Parts of the ExpressIRSForms e-filing process for ACA forms include a full-time employee calculator and multiple error checks to ensure your return is ACA compliant. Create an account today to get started. If you need any help, you can give our customer support staff a call at (704) 684-4751 or send us a live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. We also provide 24/7 email assistance at

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Is Your Small Business Eligible for a Health Care Tax Credit?

Enacted in 2014, there’s a federal law that gives a tax credit to small employers who become eligible by providing health care coverage to their employees. This is something you’ll want to pay attention to for your Affordable Care Act return as well as other IRS filings.

Who Gets the Tax Credit
In order to be eligible for a small business health care tax credit, small employers, including tax-exempt organizations, must:
  • have fewer than 25 full-time employees, whose average annual wages are less than $50,000 and
  • pay a uniform percentage equal to at least 50% of the premiums for employee-only insurance coverage for all employees.
Keep in mind that your part-time employees add together to make full-time employee equivalents when you’re totaling your full-time employees. You’re also required to contribute toward premiums on behalf of each employee enrolled in the qualified health plan (QHP) you offered through a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP Marketplace).

Calculating the Tax Credit
When calculating your credit, only premiums paid for your employees by you (the employer) for QHPs offered through SHOP are counted, beginning with the tax year 2014. If you have taxable years 2010 through 2013 to report, you may count premiums paid by you for coverage under a qualifying arrangement. For any tax year, these situations are not counted toward your tax credit:
  • Health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) payments,
  • Health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) payments,
  • Health savings account (HSA) payments, and
  • Employee tobacco surcharges paid by the employer under certain SHOP plans.

And a Friendly E-filing Reminder
While figuring up your small business health care tax credit, don’t forget the e-filing deadline for your ACA return is next Thursday, June 30, 2016. Make sure you have your forms transmitted through ExpressIRSForms by June 29 to ensure the IRS receives them on time. If you have any questions, our friendly support staff is here to help! Just give us a call Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751 or send us an email anytime to

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reporting Covered Individuals on Form 1095-B

In order to complete Form 1095-B, filers must include information on covered individuals. These are the individuals who were not directly offered an insurance plan but who still benefit from the health care coverage: spouses and dependents.

Form 1095-B: Lines 23-28
Lines 23 through 28 make up Part IV of Form 1095-B, which is where information about the covered individuals is reported. On these lines you’ll include:
  • the covered individual’s name,
  • their social security number,
  • or their date of birth if you don’t have their SSN,
  • and indicate which month(s) they were covered.
To help make sure all of your information is present and accounted for before you e-file, get started with ExpressIRSForms today! Our built-in error checks help to make sure you have everything filled out accurately before anything gets filed with the IRS.

If you have any questions about the e-filing process, give our expert customer support staff a call! We’re available Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751. We also offer 24/7 email assistance at

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What is the Origin of Policy for ACA Reporting?

There’s a lot of important information reported to the IRS on your 1095-B Forms regarding the offers of health care coverage you made throughout the year. Included in the information you’re required to provide is the origin of the policy, which is entered on Line 8 of Form 1095-B.

When you come to Line 8 of Form 1095-B, you’ll enter a letter (A-F) to indicate where the health insurance policy you offered your recipients originated:
  • A. Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)
  • B. Employer-sponsored coverage
  • C. Government-sponsored program
  • D. Individual market insurance
  • E. Multiemployer plan
  • F. Other designated minimum essential coverage (MEC)
ExpressIRSForms helps make sure you have the right information in the right places on all of your ACA Forms, including 1094 and 1095-C Forms. So get started e-filing your ACA forms through your ExpressIRSForms account today - you only have a little over a week left to get them e-filed to the IRS!

If you have any questions, we’re available by live chat and phone (704-684-4751) Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT. We also offer 24/7 assistance through

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Void or Corrected: Which Box Should You Check on Form 1095-C?

If you look at the top of Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, you’ll see two boxes, one labelled VOID, one CORRECTED. If you find yourself amending an ACA return you’ve already submitted to the IRS, you may end up doing more than just looking at the boxes. The question we’re here to answer today is which do you use for what situation?

The Void Box
This one’s pretty straightforward. If you’ve filed a Form 1095-C for an employee in error or need to just void completely a filed Form 1095-C for any other reason, you’ll check this box on a new Form 1095-C. Fill out the same information as is on the 1095-C you’ve already filed and are voiding so the IRS knows to which form in your original return you’re referring.

The Corrected Box
This box you may check for any number of reasons, the main one being that you need to make a correction on a Form 1095-C you’ve already filed. You’ll enter an X in the “Corrected” box on a new 1095-C form for any form you’ve already filed that had incorrect
  • Employer/employee name,
  • SSN or EIN,
  • Offer of Coverage,
  • Premium Amount,
  • Safe Harbor or other relief codes,
  • Covered Individuals’ information.
You’ll need to furnish a corrected copy to the recipient of the coverage (and the original Form 1095-C) in addition to the one you send to the IRS.

With ExpressIRSForms, ACA corrections are a breeze. Get started e-filing today by creating a free account! And if you have any questions, you can give our expert customer service center a call at (704) 684-4751 or send us an email to

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Middle Class America & Affordable Insurance: The Premium Tax Credit

Since providers of the ACA-compliant health insurance many Americans have received are busy working on e-filing their IRS-required ACA return before June 30, ExpressIRSForms is here to give some more information to the individual taxpayers required to obtain affordable health insurance.

The premium tax credit was introduced by the IRS in January of this year. It’s meant to give middle-class Americans tax benefits which will help make it easier to find and purchase affordable health insurance.

Premium Tax Credit Eligibility
In order to be eligible for a premium tax credit:
  • Your household income has to be at least 100% the federal poverty line (FPL), without exceeding 400% of that line.
  • You’ll need to file a joint income tax return if you’re married, with certain exceptions for victims of domestic violence and spousal abandonment.
  • You must be enrolled in a “qualified health plan” through an Affordable Insurance Exchange.
If someone else is able to claim you as a dependent, you’re not eligible for the premium tax credit. You’re also not eligible if you are eligible for other qualifying coverage, like Medicare, Medicaid, or employer-sponsored coverage.

How Much is the Tax Credit?
Your premium tax credit amount will generally be equal to the difference between the premium for the “benchmark plan” and your “expected contribution.”
  • Your expected contribution is a specified percentage of your household income. For the tax year 2015, this percentage ranges from 2.01% of income (families at 100% of the FPL) to 9.56% of income (families at 400%). 
  • A benchmark plan is a plan that is the second-lowest-cost plan. The plan must also cover your family at the “silver” level of coverage.
Keep in mind that this credit is capped at the premium for the plan the family chooses, so no one will receive a credit that is larger than the amount they pay for their plan.

Important Premium Tax Facts
  • The premium tax credit actually applies to a broad range of middle-class families: the income range of 100% to 400% of the FPL roughly translates to apply to families of four who made between $23,850 to $94,400 in 2015 and $24,250 to $97,000 in 2016.
  • Older Americans who face higher premiums because they’re not yet eligible for Medicare will receive a larger tax credit since the amount of the credit is directly tied to the amount of the premium.
  • The premium tax credit is fully refundable, and advance credit payments are made by the Department of the Treasury directly to the insurance company to help with the cost of monthly premiums.

CPAs, service providers, and applicable large employers who still need to e-file their ACA return with the IRS can do so quickly and easily through their ExpressIRSForms account! If you have any questions about getting started, just give us a call at (704) 684-4751 or send us an email to

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Friday, June 17, 2016

ACA Healthcare Coverage Exemptions

Let’s flip the script for a post and talk about the individuals who are now, according to the ACA, responsible for obtaining health insurance that meets minimum essential coverage (MEC). If you’re a full-time employee with an ACA-compliant company, you shouldn’t have to worry too much since the coverage your employer offers will meet this criteria.

If you’re one of the many Americans who hasn’t received an offer of coverage from your employer, it’s likely they weren’t required to make an offer to you, and you’re therefore responsible for seeking out and purchasing a plan of your own. This can be done through a Marketplace, the private insurance sector, and through governmental programs. If you don’t obtain adequate coverage, you may be required to make an individual shared responsibility payment.

You may be able to get out of this payment if you qualify for an exemption from the requirement to have coverage. Generally, you apply for this exemption if, throughout the year:
  • you didn’t have access to affordable coverage,
  • you only went without coverage during a one-time gap of less than three consecutive months, or
  • you qualify for one of any of these exemptions, including a hardship exemption.
There are certain exemptions that can only be granted by the Marketplace (and are claimed on Form 8965), while others can only be granted on your tax return. A select few exemptions can be applied for through either means, so it’s important to research the exemption for which you may be eligible.

Applicable Large Employers, CPAs, and any other ACA filers who still need to transmit their 1094 and 1095 forms to the IRS by the June 30th deadline can do so quickly and easily with ExpressIRSForms! Create an account to get started, and if you have any questions, give our customer support center a call at (704) 684-4751 or send us an email to

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

3 Ways CPAs Benefit From Using ExpressIRSForms

CPAs are facing a whole new workload this (extended) tax season: ACA forms. With all the sensitive information being handled in CPA offices during the busy season, ExpressIRSForms wants to help make sure CPAs e-filing ACA forms for their clients aren’t met with any avoidable issues. That’s why we’ve included a few features to our ACA e-filing system we think, as a CPA, you’re going to like.

File for Multiple EINs Using One Account
One of the issues with a lot of e-filing software out there is that you can only assign one business or EIN to an account. As a CPA with multiple clients - and therefore multiple EINs - this could mean keeping track of login and password details for each of those clients. Let’s be honest, you’ve got better things to keep track of. With ExpressIRSForms, you can add as many different EINs as you need.

You can even check out and e-file all of your forms at once (rather than transmitting them individually by EIN) to take advantage of our higher volume filing prices.

Multi-user Functionality
Whether you work as part of a team or your clients want to review their returns before you transmit them, we understand there are instances when you’ll need to give others access to your ExpressIRSForms account. That’s why each account comes with multi-user functionality, enabling you to give secure access to your account to whoever you need. From your Account Settings, you can send a secure link to your coworker/boss/client, giving them as much access to the account as is necessary.

Postal Mailing Options
Along with filing 1095 Forms to the IRS for your clients, copies of these 1095 Forms must also be sent to the recipients of their offers of coverage you’re reporting. That adds up to a lot of extra time (and money) spent printing copies, stuffing envelopes, stamping them, and mailing them to the correct people. Unless you use ExpressIRSForms.

Before you transmit your forms, you’ll have the ability to select our Postal Mailing feature. If you opt for this feature, our ACA team in Rock Hill, South Carolina is alerted and sends the recipient copies of the 1095 Forms out in the mail by the next business day after you transmit.

If you have any questions about filing with ExpressIRSForms, give us a call! We’re available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751 or by live chat. We also offer 24/7 assistance through

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reporting COBRA Coverage

Reporting COBRA Coverage
As an employer or any filer of ACA returns, it’s important that everything is reported correctly on your 1094 and 1095 forms. This isn’t too hard with full-time employees who worked all year under the same coverage. But what about when it comes to reporting COBRA Coverage?

What is COBRA Coverage?
COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which was passed in 1986. The act amended existing laws by giving certain former employees, retirees, spouses, and dependents the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. COBRA coverage is offered when the employee loses access to coverage under a group plan, due to voluntary or involuntary termination or a reduction in their hours of employment.

Reporting COBRA Coverage on Part II of Form 1095-C
If you’ve offered COBRA coverage to a terminated employee (generally anyone whose employment didn’t end because of gross misconduct), you won’t report it as an offer of coverage on line 14 of Form 1095-C. Instead, use code 1H, no offer of coverage, for any month the continued coverage applies.

If you need to report COBRA coverage for an active employee, say, someone whose hours were reduced and is, therefore, ineligible for plan coverage, you’ll report it in the same manner as an offer of that type of coverage to any other active employee.

Self-Insured Plans and COBRA Coverage
Under self-insured COBRA plans, spouses and dependents can elect to receive the continued coverage independently of the employee (i.e., if the employee declines coverage or is deceased). Employers who sponsor these plans will still need to report coverage offered to each non-employee spouse and dependent on a separate Form 1095-B or 1095-C from the employee. If a spouse and dependents elect to receive COBRA coverage along with the employee, you can report them on the same form.

Whatever you have to report on your ACA forms, ExpressIRSForms can help. Create an account or log in today to get started e-filing your ACA returns! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call (704-684-4751) or send us a live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT. We also provide after hours assistance at

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How to E-file Form 1095-B with ExpressIRSForms

If you saw our post the other day about e-filing Form 1095-C with ExpressIRSForms and thought, “That seems helpful, but I need to e-file the 1095-B,” then this post is for you. Today we’re going to go over how to e-file Form 1095-B with our program.

Getting Started
This part isn’t too different from Form 1095-C; you’ll still need to create or log into an account on ExpressIRSForms to start the e-filing process. Once you’re logged in, you’ll see a button that says, “Create New Forms.” Click this, then click “Start Now” under the ACA option.

Employer Information
Next, you’ll start the process by entering the employer information for your return. If you’ve already entered employer data before, you can select it from the drop-down menu. You’ll need to indicate if you, the filer, are an employer or the insurer and whether or not you’re a governmental unit. Once all of the employer information is entered and correct, click Next.

Before you enter employee information, the program determines if you’re a member of an aggregated group and which form you’ll need to file based on the type of insurance offered and the amount of employees you have.

Employer Offered Coverage
The next step is to enter the employee data, including the offers of coverage made to them. You can do this individually, entering each employee and his/her information in one at a time, or you can use our bulk upload option. Just download the Excel template we provide and enter your information - or use one of your own - before uploading the information of all of your employees at once.

Once all of your information has been entered, you’ll see a summary screen that gives you the opportunity to review and edit your return. Once you’re satisfied, click Review, and we’ll perform one last error check to make sure your return is free of any obvious errors before e-filing it to the IRS.

And that’s really all there is to it. If you’re more of a visual learner, have a look at this video we’ve made taking you step-by-step through the 1095-B e-filing process:

If you have any questions about e-filing with ExpressIRSForms, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’re available by phone (704-684-4751) and live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT. For assistance 24/7, send us an email to

Looking for something a little less hands on? Try ExpressACAForms, our full-service ACA e-filing solution!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Unique ACA Challenges Employers with Multiemployer Plans Face

ALEs, or Applicable Large Employers, who contribute to a multiemployer health coverage plan will face some unique challenges when reporting their offers of coverage to the IRS on Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. Multiemployer plans - so we’re all on the same page here - are plans that cover employees of unrelated companies as settled upon in a collective bargaining agreement.

Internal Revenue Code Section 6056 indicates multiemployer plan administrators may prepare their return for employees eligible for the multiemployer plan, reporting information on the plan and the ALE member. However, when the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C were finalized and published by the IRS, the instructions didn’t appear to provide any way for a plan administrator to do this. In other words, it appears that ALE members must report full-time employees eligible for a multiemployer plan and that ALE member is responsible for any incorrect reporting and subsequent penalties incurred.

It is true that ALE members must file a Form 1095-C for each full-time employee and provide information regarding the offer of health coverage. However, in the case of multiemployer arrangements, ALEs typically don’t make the direct offer of coverage. This means you’ll need to get details of the offer(s) from your coverage provider.

As for reporting your data on Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, the Preamble to the Code Section 4980H has included interim guidelines for employers who contribute to a multiemployer plan:
  • On Form 1094-C, Part III, column (a), treat all the employees you contribute to the multiemployer plan as if they have been offered minimum essential coverage (MEC), even if they haven’t, for the months you’re eligible to use interim guidance.
  • On Form 1095-C, Part II, line 14, enter the code of health coverage that corresponds with the coverage actually offered to the employee, even if it contradicts what you included on Form 1094-C in Part III.
  • On Form 1095-C, complete lines 15 and 16 as usual, including the premium amount (line 15) and any applicable Safe Harbor relief code (line 16).
  • If you’re completing multiple 1094-C Forms for one ALE member, one of the forms must be marked as the authoritative transmittal copy. This copy must include aggregate employer-level data for all full-time employees.
  • Sponsors or insurers of multiemployer plans are required to furnish information about health coverage to any enrolled employees on Forms 1094-B and 1095-B. ALE members should not complete Form 1095-C, Part III for these employees.

ExpressIRSForms works to make sure you’re reporting everything correctly the first time around. Create an account today to get started e-filing ACA forms for your multiemployer plans! And if you have any questions, we’re available by phone (704-684-4751) and live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT. Have questions after hours? Send us an email to support@ExpressIRSForms!

Looking for something a little less hands on? Check out ExpressACAForms, our full-service ACA e-filing solution!

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Employer Self-Insured Health Plans

Self-insured, or self-funded, health plans selected by employers for their employees are an important part of remaining ACA compliant.

What is a self-insured health plan?
In self-insured health plans, the employer assumes the risk (financially) for providing health care benefits to employees. This means the employer would pay out of pocket for each claim as it occurred rather than paying an insurance carrier a fixed premium.

Why would an employer choose self-insured health plans?
There are various reasons for why an employer opts for a self-insured health plan. Some of the most common reasons cited for using self-insured health plans are:
  • Employers can customize the plan to meet workforce-specific health care needs
  • Employers maintain control over the health plan reserves, maximizing interest income
  • Employers don’t have to pre-pay for coverage, providing improved cash flow
  • Self-insured plans are regulated under federal law, so employers aren’t subject to conflicting state health insurance regulations
  • Employers are free to contract with providers (or the provider network) best suited for their individual employees

So does that mean self-insured plans are the best for every employer?
Not necessarily. Self-insured employers assume the risk for paying employee costs for health care claims, which means it must have the resources available for unpredictable financial obligations.

Is there any way for an employer to protect itself against unpredicted claims with self-insured plans?
Yes. Most large and applicable large employers will have sufficient enough reserves to cover practically any health care cost. Other self-insured employers can also purchase stop-loss insurance, which will reimburse them for claims above an agreed upon dollar level.

Are there laws on self-insured health plans with which employers need to comply?
Yes, any federal law applicable to self-insured group health plans must be followed by employers, in addition to state-specific laws that may apply. Federal documents that outline self-insured group health plan compliance include:
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA),
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
  • Civil Rights Act,
  • Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA),
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA),
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and
  • Various budget reconciliation acts, including Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA), Deficit Reduction Act (DEFRA), and Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA).

If you’re ready to report the offers of self-insured coverage you made in 2015, ExpressIRSForms is ready to help you e-file! Just create an account to get started. If you need any assistance, we’re in the office Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, and are available by chat and phone (704-684-4751). We also provide after-hours email assistance at

Looking for something a little less hands on? Check out ExpressACAForms, our full-service ACA e-filing solution.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

How to E-file Form 1095-C with ExpressIRSForms

Hello, and welcome to ExpressIRSForms! Today we’re going to take you step by step through the process of e-filing a Form 1095-C with ExpressIRSForms. If you’ve e-filed your 1099s or W-2s with us before, things may look a little familiar. If you’re just stopping by for the first time, sit back, relax, and see how easy it is to e-file with ExpressIRSForms:

Getting Started
First things first, you’ll need to either create an account at, or log into your existing one. Select either the “Register” or “Sign In” button on the top right corner of our home page, as it is applicable to you. Once you’ve logged into your account, you’ll see a button that says “Create New Forms.” Click this, and select the ACA forms option.

Employer Information
After you’ve indicated you’d like to e-file ACA forms, you’ll be taken to a screen to enter the employer information needed for your ACA return. Enter your employer by either selecting their name from the drop-down menu of your existing employers, or filling in the boxes to add a new employer. Once you’ve confirmed all of your information is correct, click Next.

Next, the program will determine if your employer is a member of an aggregated group, what type of insurance is sponsored by the employer, and the amount of full-time employees (FTEs) your business has by asking a few simple questions. Before completing the next part of your form, you’ll come to a checkpoint screen that summarizes the type of ACA form you’re filing along with your employer information. Click Continue to go to the next part.

Employer Offered Coverage
Now onto what the ACA forms are all about: your employees and the coverage you offered them. You’ll see on the first screen for this section that you have the option to add employees individually or bulk upload them using our Excel template or one of your own. Select which option you’d like, and either enter your employees’ data individually, or upload your ACA data spreadsheet.

Authoritative Transmittal
Once you’ve either entered or uploaded your employee data, click Next to indicate whether or not this return will be considered the Authoritative Transmittal for your complete ACA return. If this is your only transmittal, it automatically becomes the Authoritative Transmittal (AT).

After indicating the AT, the program will ask about any transition relief your organization or business qualified for during the tax period. The next pages will ask you to confirm you offered minimum essential coverage (MEC) throughout the year and your total number of FTEs as well as total number of employees overall.

Lastly, you’ll come to your summary screen. Look over everything to make sure your employer and employee info is entered correctly and click Review. The program then performs one last error check to make sure your return is free of any obvious errors before it’s transmitted to the IRS. If there are no errors, just click through to add your payment information for the one-time transmittal fee, and transmit your return to the IRS.

See, wasn’t that simple?

If you have any questions about e-filing with ExpressIRSForms, give us a call! We’re available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751. We also provide 24/7 email assistance at

Looking for something a little less hands on? Try ExpressACAForms, our full-service ACA e-filing solution!

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TIN Matching: Your FAQs Answered

One of the most talked about features among ACA filers using ExpressIRSForms is the TIN Matching and Verification Process.

What is TIN Verification?
TIN Verification is the process your forms go through in ExpressIRSForms before your return is e-filed with the IRS. It checks to make sure the Social Security Numbers (SSNs), Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), and any other Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) entered in your return match the person or business with whom they’re associated according to the IRS’s records.

What format should names and TINs be in?
If you’re entering the names and TINs individually in ExpressIRSForms, the program will make sure all your names and TINs are formatted correctly. If you’re bulk uploading using ExpressIRSForms’s Excel template, the column headers will indicate what information needs to be in which box. If you’ve got your own template, list your recipient names by first then last name and the TIN without any dashes or other characters.

Is there an additional charge for TIN matching?
When you e-file with ExpressIRSForms, we perform a TIN verification to ensure TIN matching automatically as a part of your form generation process at no cost to you.

What should I do if a TIN in my return fails?
If we’ve caught the TIN mismatch before your return is transmitted (which would likely be the case), all you’ll need to do is verify the TIN with the person or entity in question, then make the necessary correction(s) in your account before e-filing.

If for any reason the IRS finds a TIN mismatch on your forms, your return will more than likely be rejected or accepted with errors. Once your return has been processed, you can go back into ExpressIRSForms, correct your return, and retransmit it at no additional cost.

You can get started e-filing your ACA return through ExpressIRSForms today! If you have any questions, just let us know. We’re available by live chat and phone at (704) 684-4751 Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT. We’re also available to answer questions 24/7 at

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Minimum Value

Going hand-in-hand through the ACA regulations with Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC), which we posted about earlier this week, is Minimum Value (MV). 

What is Minimum Value?
Healthcare plans meet a Minimum Value (MV) if they’re designed to pay for at least 60% of the total cost of medical services for a standard population, according to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This minimum standard is the equivalent of a Bronze plan sold on the Health Insurance Marketplace. The plan’s benefits must also include a substantial amount of any inpatient hospital and physician services necessary.

In order to remain completely compliant with the ACA, the healthcare plan you as an employer offer your employee(s) must offer both Minimum Essential Coverage and meet the Minimum Value allowed. If the plan you offer doesn’t meet MEC or MV standards, you might have to pay an employer shared responsibility payment.

An employer shared responsibility payment is incurred when their employee receives a premium tax credit when purchasing additional insurance from the Marketplace. Since the employee would only receive this tax credit if their existing insurance didn’t meet MEC or MV guidelines, this could launch an IRS investigation into your coverage offers and you could end up paying out of pocket for each full-time employee considered under-covered.

However, just because an employee seeks additional insurance from the Marketplace doesn’t mean he/she will automatically receive the premium tax credit. If the insurance you provide meets MEC and MV, the employee will still be able to purchase additional coverage but they won’t be eligible for the credit.

The clock is ticking to get your ACA forms e-filed! The deadline is June 30, so be sure to sign up with ExpressIRSForms to complete your ACA filing today. And if you have any questions, our customer support team is happy to help! Give us a call Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751 or send us an email anytime at

Looking for something a little less hands on? Try ExpressACAForms, our full-service ACA e-filing solution!
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Reporting Safe Harbor & Affordability on Line 16 of Form 1095-C

A couple of slots down from Line 14 on Form 1095-C is Line 16, as is usually the case with sequential numbers. The thing about Line 16 is that not everyone will fill it out. Read on to learn more about this reporting requirement.

Form 1095-C, Line 16
The thing to keep in mind about Line 16 is that you’ll only fill it out if certain situations apply for the employee (i.e., the employee not being full-time or employed at all) or for you, as the employer (i.e., Safe Harbor relief eligibility), during any month of the year.

ACA Code Series 2
The following Safe Harbor Codes are used on Line 16 of Form 1095-C:
  • 2A: Employee was not employed during this month.
    • If the employee worked even one day that month, Code 2A is not applicable.
    • Code 2A may not be used for the month an employee resigns.
  • 2B: Employee is not a full-time employee.
    • Use Code 2B for a non-FTE who didn’t enroll in coverage that month (if offered).
    • Use Code 2B for FTEs whose coverage ended before the last day of the month because the employee resigned (otherwise, the coverage would’ve continued).
    • Use Code 2B for January 2015 if you offered MEC with MV to the employee no later than the first day of the first payroll period beginning that month.
  • 2C: Employee enrolled in coverage offered.
    • Code 2C should be used even if another code might apply (other than 2E).
    • Don’t use Code 2C if Code 1G is entered in the “All 12 Months” box on Line 14.
    • Don’t use Code 2C for any month a terminated employee is enrolled in COBRA (use Code 2A instead).
  • 2D: Employee in a section 4980H(b) Limited Non-Assessment Period
    • Use Code 2D for any month the employee is in a Limited non-Assessment Period for section 4980H(b).
    • If Code 2E is also applicable, use that instead of Code 2D.
  • 2E: Multiemployer interim rule relief.
    • Use Code 2E for any month the multiemployer arrangement interim guidance applies to the employee.
    • Code 2E should be used regardless of any other code that may apply.
  • 2F: Section 4980H affordability Form W-2 safe harbor.
    • Use Code 2F for any month you used the section 4980H Form W-2 safe harbor to determine affordability for the employee’s coverage.
  • 2G: Section 4980H affordability federal poverty line safe harbor.
    • Use Code 2G for any month you used the section 4980H affordability federal poverty line safe harbor to determine affordability for coverage.
  • 2H: Section 4980H affordability rate of pay safe harbor.
    • Use Code 2H for any month you used the section 4980H affordability rate of pay safe harbor to determine affordability.
  • 2I: Non-calendar year transition relief applies.
    • Enter Code 2I if non-calendar year transition relief under section 4980H(b) applies to this employee for any month.

At ExpressIRSForms, we help make sure you have the right codes in the right places. With built-in error checks, we’ll make sure no obvious errors are sent in your forms to the IRS. And if you have any questions along the way, our support team will be happy to help! Give us a call Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751. Filing in the middle of the night? We offer 24/7 assistance via email at

Looking for something a little less hands on? Check out our full-service ACA e-filing program, ExpressACAForms!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Minimum Essential Coverage

When we talk about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the phrase “Minimum Essential Coverage” gets thrown around a lot, and it’s an important one. As an employer, you’ll need to keep Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) in mind when providing your employees with health insurance. In this post, we’ll dive into why that is.

What is Minimum Essential Coverage?
Minimum Essential Coverage, or MEC, is the phrase used to describe the type of healthcare coverage you’ll need to provide to applicable employees in order to stay compliant with the ACA. It’s pretty straightforward in its definition as it applies to any coverage that offers at least the minimum amount of benefits required to be had by all American taxpayers.

MEC usually goes hand in hand with Minimum Value (MV), meaning the coverage you offer pays for at least 60% of the total allowed cost of benefits under the plan.

What Types of Health Insurance are Considered MEC?
For the most part, all Government and job-based insurance, as well as most private insurance, meet MEC requirements. This includes:
  • Employer-sponsored coverage
  • COBRA and retiree coverage
  • Medicare Part A & Medicare Advantage coverage
  • Most Medicaid coverage
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage
  • Some types of Veterans Administration coverage
  • Coverage provided under the Peace Corps
  • Coverage under the Non-appropriated Fund Health Benefit Program
  • Refugee Medical Assistance (supported by Administration for Children and Families)

What Doesn’t Count as MEC?
  • Plans that provide limited benefits typically don’t qualify as MEC, such as:
  • Short Term Health Plans
  • Fixed Benefit Health Plans
  • Supplemental Medicare (Part D, Medigap)
  • Some Medicaid
  • Vision-only, Dental-only, and other limited benefit plans
  • Grandfathered plans

So now that you know about MEC, get ready to e-file your ACA forms with ExpressIRSForms! All you need to do is create an account and you’re on your way. If you need any help with the process, don’t hesitate to contact our customer support team in Rock Hill, SC. We’re available by phone Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751. If you can’t get us then, we offer 24/7 email assistance at

Looking for something a little less hands on? Try ExpressACAForms, our full-service ACA e-filing solution!
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What's So Important About Line 14 on Form 1095-C?

Understandably, Line 14 on Form 1095-C is causing hesitation for many filers. Just look at it:

What, so now you’ve got to come up with a code for each month the recipient was covered? Close: the IRS has already come up with the code (1A through 1I), you just need to enter the appropriate one for the recipient listed either in the “All 12 Months” box (if the code’s the same all year) or in each applicable month.

Offer of Coverage
So just what are you reporting with these codes? Well, Form 1095-C Line 14 indicates to the IRS what coverage was offered to the person for whom you’re filing the Form 1095-C. The code you use will tell the IRS if the coverage you offered met the ACA-required minimum essential coverage (MEC) and minimum value (MV) regulations, as well as if coverage was offered to the spouse and dependent(s) of the employee. Additionally, there’s a code to use in the event coverage wasn’t offered or if the employee only worked part-time.

ACA Line 14 Code Series 1
  • 1A. Qualifying Offer: MEC providing MV offered to FTE; employee premium less than or equal to the 9.5% mainland single federal poverty line; MEC offered to spouse and dependent(s)
  • 1B: MEC providing MV offered to FTE only
  • 1C: MEC providing MV offered to FTE; MEC offered to dependent(s)
  • 1D: MEC providing MV offered to FTE; MEC offered to spouse
  • 1E: MEC providing MV offered to FTE; MEC offered to dependent(s) and spouse
  • 1F: MEC not providing MV offered to FTE, dependent(s), or spouse
  • 1G: Offer of coverage made to non-FTE who enrolled in self-insured coverage
  • 1H: No offer of coverage made
  • 1I: Offer made (or lack thereof) falls under Qualifying Offer Transition Relief for 2015

At ExpressIRSForms, we help make sure you have the right codes in the right places as you navigate these new ACA forms. Just create an account to get started e-filing your 1095s one of the easiest ways possible! And if you have any questions on the way, we’ll be happy to help. Just give us a call Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751. If you miss us, send us an email to, and we’ll reply as soon as possible!

Looking for something a little less hands on? Check out our full-service e-filing program for Forms 1094 and 1095, ExpressACAForms!
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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What Every Small Business Should Know About the ACA

When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, a lot of the conversation is spent on Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) and their new requirements and regulations. While that’s an important conversation to have, businesses with fewer than 50 employees are affected by the ACA as well. But do you know just how affected you are by the ACA as a small business owner?

You’re Still Somewhat Responsible for your Employees’ Health Care Coverage
Even if you don’t meet the 50 FT-employee-threshold that requires you to provide health insurance for your employees, as an employer you’re still a little responsible for making sure they get covered. This means you’ll need to provide certain information about healthcare Marketplaces if you opt not to offer fully-insured plans to your employees.

If you do decide to provide coverage and other benefits to your employees, you’ll need to establish a plan for making offers of coverage to every eligible employee within 90 days of hire. You’ll also need to provide them with a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) to explain their health plan and what it costs.

You’re Also Required to File
Keep in mind that if you do make offers of coverage to your employees, you’re required to file with the IRS reporting this coverage each year, just as ALEs do. However, small businesses offering fully-funded plans will need to file Forms 1094-B and 1095-B.

For more specific ACA information tailored to the size of your business, you can visit the US Small Business Administration’s page.

And for more information about e-filing your ACA Forms, give us a call at ExpressIRSForms. We’re available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751, to answer any questions you have about the e-filing process. We’re also available 24/7 at

Looking for something a little less hands on? Check out ExpressACAForms, our full-service ACA e-filing program.

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What You Should Know About ACA Reporting Penalties

We recently spoke about the penalties and fees you could face from the IRS if you fail to comply with the new reporting requirements as outlined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Today, we’re going to dive a little deeper into how an employer can become liable for paying these compliance or reporting fees.

What puts you at risk for a penalty?
The main penalty to watch out for as an employer is the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment (ESRP). You become liable for this payment if you either
  • (a) don’t offer health coverage to at least 95% of your full-time employees (and their dependents), and at least one of them receives a premium tax credit from the Marketplace, or
  • (b) you do offer health coverage to at least 95% of your full-time employees but at least one is still able to receive a premium tax credit to help pay for coverage from the Marketplace (meaning your coverage didn’t meet Minimum Essential Coverage and Minimum Value regulations).
So, keeping in mind what we learned in our last post, you can avoid these penalty risks by providing the right amount of coverage to the right amount of employees as defined by the ACA, and by reporting this coverage to the IRS each year on Form 1094 and Form 1095.

The IRS is offering transition relief for employers who need it for the 2015 tax year, which you can read more about on the IRS’s website here.

do you know if the coverage you offer is affordable and provides minimum value?
Coverage is considered affordable if the employee’s share of the premium is less than 9.5% of the employee’s annual household income. Since employers generally don’t know their employees’ entire household incomes, you can determine if the employee’s share is affordable based on:
  1. the wages on their W-2,
  2. their rate of pay, or
  3. the federal poverty line.
You’ll know if a plan provides minimum value if it covers at least 60% of the total cost of benefits expected to be incurred under the plan.

A good way to avoid any filing penalties is to make sure to e-file ACA Forms with ExpressIRSForms; we’ll make sure everything you fill out is correct and in place before you file your return with the IRS. To get started, just create a free account!

Have questions? That’s what we’re here for - from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, Monday through Friday, at (704) 684-4751, or 24/7 at

Looking for something a little less hands on? Check out ExpressACAForms, our full-service e-filing software for Forms 1094 and 1095.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Employer Shared Responsibility FAQs, Part 2

And we’re back! Let’s jump right into part two of our Employer Shared Responsibility FAQs:

Are companies with employees working outside the US subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions?
Typically, for determining whether or not you’re an ALE (Applicable Large Employer), you’ll only take into account the work performed in the United States. In other words, if a foreign employer has a large workforce worldwide but doesn’t have at least 50 workers in the US, they wouldn’t be subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions.

Are companies that employ US citizens working abroad subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions?
If you employ US citizens abroad, you’d typically only be subject to Employer Shared Responsibility provisions if you have at least 50 FT employees performing work in the US. Generally, US citizens working only abroad will not be taken into consideration when determining ALE status.

How does an employer that wasn’t in existence throughout the preceding calendar year determine if it employs enough people to be subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions?
If your business wasn’t in existence any day in the previous calendar year, you’d only be considered an ALE (and therefore need to file) if in the current year you’re expected to hire/employ an average of 50 or more full-time employees. To determine next year’s status (a.k.a. the year after the first year your business was in existence), you’ll use the same general rules as everyone else: counting up your full-time employees to determine if there are more than 50 of them.

If two or more companies have a common owner (or are otherwise related), are they combined to determine whether they employ enough people to be subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions?
Yes, according to Section 4980H, in order to determine ALE status, you would need to combine the number of employees for any groups with a common owner, or that are otherwise related. If the combined total is more than 50 full-time employees, each employer is subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions.

Do the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions apply to employers in states where a federally-facilitated exchange (or Marketplace) has been established on behalf of the state?
Yes. As an ALE, you’re subject to an Employer Shared Responsibility payment if at least one (1) of your FT employees receives a premium tax credit, which is only available to eligible individuals who receive coverage through a Marketplace.

So now that your questions have been answered, are you ready to get started e-filing your ACA return? Just log into your ExpressIRSForms account to create your forms, or let us do it for you over at ExpressACAForms!

Didn’t see your question in either of our posts? Just reach out to our friendly customer service center and we’ll try to help any way we can! We’re available by phone Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751 and by email 24/7 at

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Employer Shared Responsibility FAQs, Part 1

Welcome to the first of our two-part post on some of the questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act - more specifically, the Employer Shared Responsibility parts of it. If there’s something about employers’ responsibilities under the ACA you’ve been wondering about, we’re going to do our best to answer it!

Which employers are subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions?
The employers subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions are ALEs or Applicable Large Employers.

Which are employers not subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions?
For the calendar year, any employers who do not employ at least 50 full-time employees and are therefore not ALEs are not subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions.

How many employees does an employer have to have to be subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions?
ALEs have an average of at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalents, throughout the year.

Do the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions apply only to large employers that are for-profit businesses?
No, any type of employer can be considered an ALE and therefore be liable for the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions, including tax-exempt and non-profit organizations.

Do the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions apply to government entities?
Yes, as stated before, any employer can be an ALE, including all government entities.

Didn’t see your question here? Stay tuned for our next installment of the Employer Shared Responsibility FAQs! In the meantime, if you need to get started e-filing your ACA return, you can do so through ExpressIRSForms, or let us do it for you at ExpressACAForms!

Questions? Give us a call Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751 or send us an email anytime at!

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Could the Affordable Care Act be Repealed?

It’s no secret the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, wasn’t the most popular piece of legislation to pass. It’s also no secret that candidates across the board are preparing for either a complete or partial repeal of the ACA and are adding their best alternatives to their respective platforms.

In anticipation of what the election could mean for the ACA, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) in Brookfield, Wisconsin recently released a new survey report on the impact of the ACA. They found that 78% of employers would like to keep some of the mandated changes brought on by the ACA, even if it were to be repealed. However, new legislation would have to be written to maintain these changes. Employers mostly wanted to keep these provisions, as they noticed a positive impact on their employees’ physical, financial, and emotional well-beings as a result:
  • The elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions
  • Coverage of adult children through the age of 26
  • Increased wellness incentives
  • No cost-sharing for preventative care

The biggest compliance challenges for employers, however, were found to be reporting and disclosure issues, cost issues, and employee communications.

At the IFEBP’s recent Washington Legislative Update event, they announced three possible scenarios for the ACA as a result of the November election:
  1. If the Republican nominee is elected and the Republicans keep control of Congress, the ACA will be repealed. A tax reform and regulatory rollback will accompany this. Democrats will have the option to filibuster to contest any of their changes, but the majority vote from a Republican Congress would pass any measure related to spending and revenue.
  2. If the Democratic nominee is elected and the Democrats take control of Congress, the ACA will stay, but it’s probably necessary fixes will be passed through the budget reconciliation process.
  3. If the Democratic nominee is elected but the Republicans keep control of Congress, the likely result is “more of the same gridlock” barring a related crisis, like health insurers abandoning public exchanges.
  4. If a 3rd party nominee is elected, well, we're not sure what will happen because our source didn't explore that option.

But, regardless of the result of the November 2016 election, it’s still required to have your 2015 ACA return e-filed by the end of this month - by 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2016. You can e-file your return quickly and easily with ExpressIRSForms! If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751. We’re also available 24/7 at

Looking for something a little less hands on? Visit for our full-service ACA e-filing solution.

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How to Convert Non-Hourly Compensation into ACA Service Hours

As an Applicable Large Employer (ALE), it’s your responsibility to make sure you make offers of health coverage and benefits to your full-time employees, which the IRS determines based on the amount of hours they work per week (30 or more, and they’re full-time).

But what about your employees whose compensation isn’t based on their actual hours but on their output of work? In the instance of commission-only sales persons, pieceworkers, adjunct faculty, or any other workers whose hours you don’t track, you’ll need to develop a method of converting the work they’ve done into an hours-of-service equivalent consistent with the ACA regulations under Section 4980H.

These regulations essentially boil down to your method must be “reasonable” in the eyes of the IRS; in other words, the method can’t be designed to limit the employee’s right to a health insurance offer. This means you’ll more than likely have to take into account hours other than the ones the employee produced work to figure out their status (i.e., travel time for your commission-only sales people).

There are also varying, industry-specific methods to determining the status of pieceworkers, or workers who are paid according to the number of units of work produced:

  • In the fishing industry, workers are often compensated based on the weight of their catch, so their employee status can be determined by how long the fishing boat was out. If on average during the measurement period, the boats were out for 12 hours each day, each worker would be credited 12 hours each day he/she was out on the boat.

  • Some of our ExpressTruckTax users may want to pay attention to this one: companies who pay their truckers based on their miles traveled can convert those miles into hours worked. A good conversion rate, based on speed limits and break times, is 50-miles-to-1-hour-of-service. So, for example, a trucker who traveled 400 miles in one day would earn 8 hours toward his/her full-time status.

  • For agricultural workers, like apple pickers, paid based on what they gather each day can use the bins or baskets they gather as an hour conversion method. For example, you pay your workers $12 per bin of apples they collect daily, estimating that it takes about an hour to pick a full bin. If your records reflect you paid an employee $99 one day, you can divide that by the $12/bin to determine he/she worked roughly 8 ¼ hours.

  • The IRS has outlined a way to determine the status of adjunct faculty members at higher-education institutions. For employees who are paid by the class, 2 ¼ hours of service should be included per week (to cover teaching and classroom time in addition to out-of-class work like lesson prep and grading) for each hour of classroom time. Additionally, 1 hour of service per week should be included in their total for each additional hour outside of the classroom they spend on their required duties, such as during office hours or faculty meetings.

If you’ve already got your employees work hours totaled and are ready to file your ACA forms, log into your ExpressIRSForms account today to get started! Or, check out our full-service filing option, ExpressACAForms. If you’re not sure which you’d like to try, just give us a call at (704)-684-4751 and we’ll be happy to help you get started.

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ACA Compliance: How to Track Variable Hour Employees

Variable hour employees are those who, based on circumstances surrounding their employment, cannot easily be classified as a standard, 30-hour-per-week full-time employee. In other words, their schedules fluctuate so greatly, it requires a longer measurement period to determine whether they’re eligible for health coverage and benefits extended to other full-time employees.

But just because they’re variable hour employees doesn’t mean they can be swept under the rug. If any of these employees does work, on average, over 30 hours per week and you don’t make an offer of coverage to them, you could face a $100 per day penalty for each affected employee.

Employers are given a full year, or “measurement period,” under the ACA to determine whether or not their variable hour employees average 30+ hours of work each week. If an employee is discovered to have exceeded 30 hours/week, you must make an appropriate offer of coverage. It must go into effect within 90 days of acceptance and be available for a full 12 months, even if the employee’s hours worked drop below 30 hours/week. This time period that the employee is covered is called the “stabilization period.”

Unlike your regular full-time employees, variable hour employees must qualify for their offers of coverage each year by working that average of 30 hours a week. That’s why it’s recommended employers set their measurement period to start 90 days before the annual renewal date. So the measurement period for companies with a January 1 renewal date will measure their employees’ variable hours from October 1 to September 30 of the year before. This also makes it easier for handing out your offers of coverage, since you’ll only have one open enrollment period.

Already have your employees tracked and ready to file? Great! You can start with ExpressIRSForms today! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our customer support center in Rock Hill, South Carolina. We’re available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, at (704) 684-4751 and 24/7 at

Looking for something a little less hands on? Check out ExpressACAForms, our full-service ACA e-filing solution.

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Affordable Care Act Compliance Penalties

If an ALE (Applicable Large Employer), or anyone else who has to file information returns under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), fails to comply with this new ACA reporting requirement, they may be subject to IRS penalties and fines. And remember: penalties apply to both the forms that were supposed to be sent to the IRS but weren’t and forms that were supposed to be sent to your employees/recipients but weren’t.

Your potential penalty is determined by when your forms are received by the IRS (or your recipients) without any errors. If you send your completed return
  • within 30 days of the deadline, you’ll be charged up to $50 per form.
  • after 30 days after the deadline but before August 1, you’ll be charged up to $100 per form.
  • after August 1 or not at all, you’ll be charged up to $250 per form.

There are regulations in place to cap the total amount you can be charged each year (the largest limit being $3,000,000), however, the IRS does reserve the right to increase these charges if they find evidence of willful intent not to file.

The IRS is offering exemption from these filing penalties for the 2015 filing year, which is completed this year (in 2016) if you can prove you made every effort to file your return correctly and on time.

You can avoid these penalties by filing on time and correctly, which is where ExpressIRSForms comes in. While we can’t make you file on time, it is our policy to remind you of any upcoming deadlines, and all of the bonus features we pack into our program will help make sure your return is error-free. So give it a try today!

For help getting started e-filing your ACA forms, or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer support team. We’re available by phone (704-684-4751) and live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, and by email ( 24/7.

Looking for something a little less hands on? Check out ExpressACAForms, our all-in-one, full-service ACA e-filing solution.

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