Daily Tax Update - February 10, 2014: Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions Under the Affordable Care Act For 2015

FINAL REGULATIONS ISSUED IMPLEMENTING EMPLOYER SHARED RESPONSIBILITY PROVISIONS UNDER THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT FOR 2015:  Today, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final regulations implementing the employer responsibility provisions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that take effect in 2015.  According to Treasury and the IRS, “In addition, final regulations will be issued shortly that aim to substantially streamline employer reporting requirements for employers that offer highly affordable coverage to all or virtually all of their full-time employees. The employer responsibility rules assist employers affected by these policies in providing quality, affordable coverage to their workers. If employers decide not to offer insurance to their employees, they will make an employer shared responsibility payment beginning in 2015 to help offset the costs to taxpayers of their employees getting tax credits through the Health Insurance Marketplace.”

Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur said, “While about 96 percent of employers are not subject to the employer responsibility provision, for those employers that are, we will continue to make the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate. Today’s final regulations phase in the standards to ensure that larger employers either offer quality, affordable coverage or make an employer responsibility payment starting in 2015 to help offset the cost to taxpayers of coverage or subsidies to their employees.”

How the policy affects employers:

Small Businesses with fewer than 50 employees: (about 96% of all employers): Under the Affordable Care Act, companies that have fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide coverage or fill out any forms in 2015, or in any year, under the Affordable Care Act.

Larger employers with 100 or more employees (about 2% of employers): The overwhelming majority of these companies with 100 or more employees already offer quality coverage. Today’s rules phase in the percentage of full-time workers that employers need to offer coverage to from 70 percent in 2015 to 95 percent in 2016 and beyond. Employers in this category that do not meet these standards will make an employer responsibility payment for 2015.

Employers with 50 to 99 employees (about 2% of employers): Companies with 50-99 employees that do not yet provide quality, affordable health insurance to their full-time workers will report on their workers and coverage in 2015, but have until 2016 before any employer responsibility payments could apply.”

The regulations can be accessed via: TD 9655.pdf

MISCELLANEOUS GUIDANCE RELEASED:
Notice 2014-13 provides guidance as to the corporate bond weighted average interest rate and the permissible range of interest rates specified under § 412(b)(5)(B)(ii)(II) of the Internal Revenue Code as in effect for plan years beginning before 2008.  It also provides guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve (and the corresponding spot segment rates), and the 24-month average segment rates under § 430(h)(2).  In addition, this notice provides guidance as to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury securities under § 417(e)(3)(A)(ii)(II) as in effect for plan years beginning before 2008, the 30-year Treasury weighted average rate under § 431(c)(6)(E)(ii)(I), and the minimum present value segment rates under § 417(e)(3)(D) as in effect for plan years beginning after 2007.  The rates in this notice reflect certain changes implemented by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, Public Law 112-141 (MAP-21).