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IRS Keeps Open ACA Electronic Filing Period and Waives Penalties

The IRS has issued a bulletin notifying filers of Form 1094 and 1095 information returns that the Affordable Care Act Information Returns (AIR) Program system for accepting electronic returns will remain up and running after the June 30, 2016 filing deadline. The IRS had previously extended the deadline for electronic filings for the 2015 tax year from March 31 to June 30, 2016. The bulletin informs electronic filers that were unable to submit all information returns by the June 30 deadline to complete filing of returns after the deadline. In addition, the bulletin informs nonelectronic filers that missed the May 31 deadline for paper returns that they should complete their filings “as soon as possible.”

As they previously stated, the IRS says that rejected submissions that were initially filed by the June 30 deadline will be considered timely so long as replacements are submitted within 60 days after the date of rejection. Also, submissions that were accepted with errors can continue to be corrected after June 30. Filers that miss the June 30 deadline generally will not be assessed late-filing penalties so long as they have made legitimate and continuing efforts to register with the AIR system and file information returns—and complete the process as soon as possible. And, as with other information returns, penalty relief may be available if the criteria for a reasonable cause waiver are satisfied.

It seems that the IRS’ statements about penalty relief suggest that it’s more interested in collecting information than late-filing penalties for this first filing season—so long as filers have acted, and continue to act diligently to complete their filings. In light of this IRS guidance, filers that were unable to complete their filings by June 30 should continue their work and document their efforts in case they need to defend against possible penalties.

Posted on July 07, 2016 by Gary B. Kushner, SPHR, CBP, President and CEO

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