Receipt IDs: The golden tickets of ACA compliance

Last year’s ACA e-filing process was messy, confusing, and drawn out—and, this year may be more of the same.

While Republicans’ proposed replacement plan called into question the future of the ACA employer mandate, it never reached a vote. Until otherwise directed, you need to get your ACA filing done on time, and you need to receive your e-filing golden ticket—your receipt ID—to prove that you’ve successfully completed the process. While that sounds simple, the path there can be complicated. Last year we heard many of the same questions from employers about how the receipt ID works. To save you some confusion, we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions to help you better understand this golden ticket of e-filing.

Why is the receipt ID important?

The receipt ID is your proof of completion when it comes to ACA compliance. It shows not only that you’ve completed the filing process, but you’ve completed it on time. While it’s true that the IRS is waiving many of the fines and penalties under the good faith effort that it extended into this year, one thing that the IRS continues to hold firm on is the deadline. If you don’t file on time, you definitely won’t meet the good faith standards—meaning you’ll probably have to pay up.

You’ll only get this receipt once your forms have been accepted—if they’re rejected due to errors, you’ll have to fix the cause of the rejection and re-submit until you get an “accepted” status and a receipt ID.

When should I get this receipt ID?

Because this is only the second year of the compliance process, there’s no definite timeframe for receiving your receipt ID. In most cases, it should happen somewhere between 24 and 72 hours after submitting your forms.

If your forms have errors, you’ll have to correct those errors and send back re-completed forms. This could happen several times before the IRS fully accepts your forms—but you should still get a receipt ID.

What should I do if I don’t get a receipt ID?

If you don’t get your receipt ID within a few days, contact the IRS to find out if there’s been an unexpected error with your filing. Or, if using SyncStream to help with the filing process, let us know and we can help you handle it.

What should I do when I do get my receipt ID?

The receipt ID is for your reference. You won’t need it unless the IRS comes asking questions, but make sure you store it somewhere safe, and somewhere you’ll remember it, just in case.

If I have to resubmit after correcting errors, will I get a new receipt ID?

No—you should only get one receipt ID. While it’s possible that you may go through several rounds of filing or error revision, you should only get one receipt ID for completing your filing. You’ll get different statuses along the way, but your receipt ID will remain the same.

Anything else I should know?

The filing process is confusing, dense, and, in many cases, disorganized. Employers are still trying to find their feet, and unfortunately, the IRS is too. Because of this, it’s important to file with plenty of time to revise errors, fix mistakes, and overcome any other obstacles the IRS may set up.

The process may still be messy this year, but for now, it still needs to get done. And with more knowledge of the moving pieces and a better understanding of the process, you can make it through this filing season with a little less trouble.