IRS Launches New ACA Resource Center for ALEs

Author: Rena Pirsos, XpertHR Legal Editor

September 30, 2015

The IRS has launched a helpful new resource on its website chock full of information for employers that qualify as applicable large employers (ALEs) under the Affordable Care Act - ACA Information Center for Applicable Large Employers (ALEs).

This new resource comes at a good time, now that two provisions of the ACA that apply only to ALEs are in effect: (i) the employer shared responsibility provision and (ii) the employer information reporting provision for offers of minimum essential coverage. In addition, self-insured ALEs (e.g., employers that sponsor self-insured group health plans) have additional provider information reporting requirements.

The Information Center includes sections on:

  • ALE trends;
  • How an employer can determine if it is an ALE;
  • Resources for ALEs; and
  • Outreach materials.

Within these sections an employer can conveniently access:

  • Information and links pertaining to the 2016 requirements to report and file health care coverage information (e.g., on the 1095 and 1094 series of forms and instructions) to the IRS and provide copies of annual information returns to full-time employees;
  • Links to relevant employer tax provisions, Q&As, publications and a guide to the electronic ACA Information Reports (AIR) system for ALEs that file 250 or more information returns; and
  • Links to articles, webinars and health care tax tips.

The IRS advises employers that are ALEs to take steps now to prepare for the upcoming filing season. An employer must determine its ALE status each calendar year based on the average size of its workforce during the prior year. If an employer had at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on average during 2014, it is most likely an ALE for 2015.

In 2016, ALEs must file an annual information return and provide a statement to each full-time employee. An employer that will file 250 or more information returns for 2015 is required to file the returns electronically through the AIR system. The IRS advises these employers to review draft Publication 5165, Guide for Electronically Filing Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns, now for information on the communication procedures, transmission formats, business rules and validation procedures for returns that they must transmit in 2016. The new Resource Center includes a link to the Guide.