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DOL Releases Model Notices on COBRA Premium Assistance


On April 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a link to its webpage dedicated to the COBRA premium assistance authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act, 2021 (ARPA), the third COVID-19 stimulus bill.  The webpage includes model notices, frequently asked questions, and related information.  With the exception of the model notices, the guidance appears targeted towards impacted workers, leaving many employer-related questions unanswered.  This alert summarizes the recent guidance and model notices.

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Past Years' Filing: What should Employers Do?

Past years

Many employers have been receiving IRS Penalty Letter 5699, if the IRS finds that a company has not filed their 1094-C and 1095-C for any previous years. You can respond to the letter usually within 30 days and choose the reason why you have not filed. Some employers may receive other IRS penalty letters for filing late or incorrectly as well.

If you have failed to file previous year’s forms, you will then be required to do so. Or you may have filed incorrectly and will then have to re-file correctly.

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California Enacts Expanded Pay Data Reporting

On September 30th California signed a law that expands employer pay data reporting.  The reporting requirement mirrors that of the EEOC’s Component 2 reporting requirements, which since has not been renewed by the EEOC.  SB 973, requires that private employers with 100 or more employees must annually report to the state detailed pay data categorized by gender, race, and ethnicity. Employers will report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) by March 31, 2021 and every March 31 thereafter.

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ACA Reporting for 2020 Just Got More Complicated!

 This year has been an odd one to say the least.  We have seen one unprecedented situation unfold after another and it is unclear if there is an end in sight.   For employers that are struggling to decide whether to lay off employees, comply with state and local ordinances that change from week to week, and possibly how to fund the next payroll cycle Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance may not seem like a real concern, or just a minor one in the back of an employer’s mind. However, if gone unaddressed ACA noncompliance could produce a knockout blow (financially speaking) just at a time where employers may be getting back on their feet financially.  

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Fifth Circuit Rules Individual Mandate Unconstitutional: However, case gets one step further from the Supreme Court

On Wednesday, December 18th, The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 vote that the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.  As a refresher, the individual mandate required U.S. citizens to purchase healthcare coverage or pay a penalty.  However, the penalties were zeroed out as part of the 2017 Republican Tax Reform bill.  The zeroing out of the penalties is what initially started the legal process that the Fifth Circuit ruled on yesterday. 

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The 2021 Dates Deadlines for 2020 ACA Reporting are Imminent

2021 ACA Reporting Deadlines

Employers should keep in mind that the 2021 deadlines for 2020 ACA reporting are looming.

Every year since 2015, the IRS requires that Applicable Large Employers, companies with over 50 full time equivalent employees, are required to offer affordable coverage to their eligible employees, and furnish 1095-C forms to employees and a 1094-C form to the IRS.

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How the ACA Affects Multiemployers and What to Do About It

Some group health plans are established by more than one employer. This is the case with multiemployer plans. These plans are commonly labeled as health and welfare plans, as they may include health care, life insurance and disability insurance benefits. Most plans are indemnity plans, meaning payments are made for services provided. 

Are you an HR manager or admin of a medium to large business that has implemented a multiemployer health plan? At SyncStream, we handle Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting for multiemployer health plans and can provide the compliance solutions you need. 

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ACA Compliance: Full-Time, Part-Time and Temporary Employees

aca compliance full time part time and temporary employees

Navigating reporting with multiple different types of employee working hours can be quite challenging. Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, questions and debates have arisen about the impact of this law on third-party staffing arrangements. Many companies offer temporary and part-time employees lower-tiered benefits, if any. If you have employees working a variety of hours, how can you ensure your business is ACA-compliant?  

We have developed this guideline to ACA compliance for full-time, part-time and temporary employees to help you understand the definitions of different employees and navigate ACA compliance. 

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ACA Penalties have no statute of limitations!

We are neck deep in the current ACA reporting cycle and while the main focus of employers should be meeting their fulfillment and e-filing deadlines, it is important they take note of a clarification recently made by the Internal Revenue Service.  The IRS has stated that penalties for noncompliance with the Employer Shared Responsibility Tax have no statute of limitations on when the IRS can impose them.  This means that employers are never “safe” or “out of the woods” from receiving penalty letters, even from the very first reporting season, which happened in the spring of 2016.  This clarification came from the Chief Counsels Office at the IRS, and the entire memorandum can be read here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-lafa/20200801f.pdf

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IRS Grants 2019 ACA Reporting Relief

On December 2nd the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2019-63, which provides three sets of relief for the upcoming Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting year.  This an early Christmas gift for employers and health insurers that are subjec to ACA reporting.  Two types of relief are very familiar if you have any experience with ACA reporting.  The third type of relief is new to this reporting cycle and only applies to health insurers that are required to provide the B Series forms, so it is somewhat irrelevant to employers in their compliance journey.

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