Just in time for the holidays, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final 2019 forms and instructions for reporting under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Sections 6055 and 6056.
The 2019 forms and instructions are substantially similar to the 2018 versions. However, both versions of the instructions were revised to:
- Remove references to the individual mandate penalty;
- Indicate that the furnishing deadline has been extended to March 2, 2020;
- Include the extension of good-faith penalty relief for incorrect or incomplete information returns filed or furnished in 2020; and
- Describe additional penalty relief for failures to furnish under Section 6055, in certain circumstances.
Beginning in 2019, the individual mandate penalty amount was reduced to $0. Despite this reduction, Section 6055 reporting continues to be required, although transition relief from penalties is available in some situations as described below.
The instructions note that Section 6055 reporting is still necessary because it helps the IRS administer premium tax credit eligibility. An individual who is eligible for certain types of minimum essential coverage may not be eligible for the premium tax credit.
Under the limited transition relief provided by the IRS, a reporting entity that does not furnish a Form 1095-B to responsible individuals will not be subject to a penalty if it meets certain requirements. Specifically, the reporting entity must:
- Prominently post a notice on its website stating that a copy of the 2019 Form 1095-B is available upon request (along with certain contact information); and
- Provide the 2019 Form 1095-B to individuals within 30 days of any request it receives.
The revised version of the Form 1095-C clarifies that the “Plan Start Month” box in Part II will remain optional for 2019. The IRS previously indicated that this box may have been mandatory for the 2019 Form 1095-C.
- The instructions were also updated to include penalty amounts for 2019 reporting, and include the extension of good-faith penalty relief for incorrect or incomplete information returns filed or furnished in 2020.
- The penalty for failure to file a correct information return is $270 for each return for which the failure occurs, with the total penalty for a calendar year not to exceed $3,339,000.
- The penalty for failure to provide a correct payee statement is $270 for each statement for which the failure occurs, with the total penalty for a calendar year not to exceed $3,339,000.
- Special rules apply that increase the per-statement and total penalties if there is intentional disregard of the requirement to file the returns and furnish the required statements.