IRS Publishes Draft Guide to Electronic ACA Reporting

The guidelines should be used to develop software for submissions to the Affordable Care Act Information Returns system.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Draft Publication 5165 outlining the communication procedures, transmission formats and other rules for returns filed electronically through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns (AIR) system.

Final rules recently issued by the IRS provide that a plan administrator (or, in certain situations, an employer maintaining a plan) required by the Internal Revenue Code or regulations to file at least 250 returns during the calendar year that includes the first day of the plan year must use magnetic media to file certain statements, returns, and reports. However, the agency encourages electronic filing even for plan administrators that are required to file less than 250 returns.

The procedures in Publication 5165 should be used for transmitting the following returns electronically:

• Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns

• Form 1095-B, Health Coverage

• Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns

• Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage


The IRS issued drafts of these forms and instructions last August.   

A recent survey found 27% of mid-sized employers (1,000 to 5,000 employees) reported that they are planning to implement an in-house solution for ACA reporting, and the same percentage reported that they are considering an outsourced solution.

The draft publication is here. The IRS will issue a final publication later.