As the year draws towards a close, it’s time to shift focus to the critical task of Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting. January brings with it the need for accurate and timely reporting, which is not only a requirement but also a significant component of your company’s compliance strategy. The month of December is important for laying the groundwork. Here’s your definitive checklist to ensure you’re on track for a smooth reporting season.
Review Reporting Requirements
Before anything else, ensure that you are up to date with the latest ACA reporting requirements. The IRS occasionally updates guidelines, so it’s important to start here.
- Confirm which forms you intend to file based on your company size and the benefits provided (usually 1094-C and 1095-C).
Audit Employee Data
Accurate data is the cornerstone of compliant ACA reporting. Use December to conduct an audit of employee data.
- Verify the accuracy of personal information, including social security numbers and dates of birth.
- Ensure easy and accurate access to employment periods, coverage offers, and enrollment data for the entire year.
- Be sure to understand the full-time status of employees to ensure correct reporting based on ACA guidelines.
Plan for Employee Communications
Communicating with employees is a step that should not be overlooked.
- Prepare materials to help employees understand their forms.
- Schedule communications, so employees know when to expect their forms.
Understand Your Timelines
Proper timelines can be the difference between compliance and costly penalties.
- Review the processes for generating, distributing, and filing forms to identify any potential issues.
Prepare for Electronic Filing
If you’re filing electronically, ensure that your system is ready to go.
- Confirm that your electronic delivery system meets the IRS requirements for secure transmission.
- If you work with Steele, we handle this for you.
Have a Corrections Plan
Mistakes happen, but knowing how to address them quickly is important.
- Develop a plan for how corrections will be made if errors are found after forms are distributed or filed.
- Ensure that you have a system in place for tracking and documenting any corrections made.
- If you work with Steele, we’ll assist you with filing your corrections.
Review State-Specific Requirements
Some states have individual mandates and reporting requirements.
- Confirm whether your state has additional reporting requirements beyond federal mandates.
- Ensure that you have the necessary data and processes to comply with these state-specific rules.
The final month of the year is not just a time for celebration of wrapping your open enrollment, but also preparation for your ACA Reporting. With preparation now, you are setting up your company for a stress-free ACA reporting season. Remember, the key to compliance in reporting is preparation, and that starts now.