In IRS Notice 2018-94, the IRS announced an extension for furnishing 2018 IRS Forms 1095-B (Health Coverage) and 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage), from January 31, 2019, to March 4, 2019.  The IRS issued this extension in response to requests by employers, insurers, and other providers of health insurance coverage that additional time be provided to gather and analyze the information required to complete the Forms and is largely identical to the extension the IRS provided for furnishing the 2016 and 2017 Forms.  Despite the extension, the IRS encourages employers and other coverage providers to furnish the Forms as soon as possible.

Consistent with the prior Notices, Notice 2018-94 does not extend the due date for employers, insurers, and other providers of minimum essential coverage to file 2018 Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS.  The filing due date for these forms remains February 28, 2019 (April 1, 2019, if filing electronically), unless the due dates are extended under other available relief.

The IRS also reveals in Notice 2018-94 that, while failure to furnish and file the Forms on a timely basis may subject employers and other coverage providers to penalties, such entities should still attempt to furnish and file even after the applicable due date as the IRS will consider such action when determining whether to abate penalties.

Notice 2018-94 also provides that good faith reporting standards will apply once again for 2018 reporting.  This means that reporting entities will not be subject to reporting penalties for incorrect or incomplete information if they can show that they have made good faith efforts to comply with the 2018 Form 1094 and 1095 information-reporting requirements.  This relief applies to missing and incorrect taxpayer identification numbers and dates of birth, and other required return information.  However, no relief is provided where there has not been a good faith effort to comply with the reporting requirements or where there has been a failure to file an information return or furnish a statement by the applicable due date (as extended).

Finally, an individual taxpayer who files his or her tax return before receiving a 2018 Form 1095-B or 1095-C, as applicable, may rely on other information received from his or her employer or coverage provider to file his or her return.  If employers take advantage of the extension in Notice 2018-94 and receive employee requests for 2018 Forms 1095-C before the extended due date, they should refer their employees to the guidance in Notice 2018-94.

Notably, Notice 2018-94 states that “[b]ecause the individual shared responsibility payment is reduced to zero for months beginning after December 31, 2018, Treasury and the Service are studying whether and how the reporting requirements [regarding reporting by insurers, self-insured employers and other providers of minimum essential coverage] should change, if at all, for future years.”  We anticipate changes in the reporting requirements for 2019.  Stay tuned for further developments.