Our final blog post in this series on the Affordable Care Act and the 1094/1095-C forms will cover how COATS’ ACA Tools help customers, what data a company should be collecting, and the mistakes a businesses could potentially be making with respect to ACA data collection and entry and how to avoid them.
“The Affordable Care Act has been one of the most challenging pieces of legislation I think any of us as business owners have had to address,” said Tom Sarach, Jr., owner of COATS Staffing Software. “But we think our software has been designed to significantly improve a staffing agency’s capability to efficiently and cost-effectively comply with the law.”
COATS ACA tools and reporting is primarily focused on the “applicable large employer (ALE).” An ALE is a business with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees. It will be these businesses that are required to file both the 1094-C and 1095-C (for more on these forms, see our initial post). But in addition to these forms, COATS helps with so much more.
COATS’ ACA Tools
When looking to lease or purchase staffing software, you need a product that is reliable, user-friendly, and, most importantly, solves your staffing problems.
COATS not only takes care of traditional staffing concerns: Payroll, W-2 Forms, W-4 Forms, employee management, etc., but from this single database, we also enable the user to do their ACA reporting.
As we mentioned in the previous post, having one database eliminates the potential for errors caused by having to use multiple systems. And our ACA Tools provide the ability to consolidate all ACA tracking from one system.
By using COATS, you will be able to generate reports needed to track which employees still need to be asked about insurance and when they need to be asked about insurance. Additionally, there are a multitude of reports that help our clients succeed with the ACA, such as: Large Employer Calculation; Eligible Health Census; ACA Eligibility Estimates; COBRA Tracking; Health Insurance Contributions by Plan; Enrolled without Active Deductions; ACA Contacts; ACA Callbacks; ACA Eligibility Tracking Grid; the aforementioned 1094- and 1095-C forms, and more.
Data entry is a tedious task. And, inevitably, there likely will be an error. Maintaining a meticulous review process of your data, in particular a review of assignment start and end dates, is important. Here are some common fields that should be checked and double-checked for accuracy:
• Assignment end dates. Employees whose assignments ended but the data entry doesn’t show any end dates.
• Assignment start dates. Employees started assignments but there is no record of a start date.
• Non-variable or variable status. All employees are either Non-Variable or Variable. Any employees who worked in 2015 should be categorized as one or the other. From the IRS, if a worker is expected to average less than 30 hours per week based on a measurement period, they are considered variable.
• Healthcare plan. The healthcare plan the employee enrolled in must be entered and selected.
• Code for the healthcare plan. On line 14 of the 1095-C, according to the IRS, “the ALE member should enter the appropriate indicator code to indicate what type of coverage, if any, was offered to the employee for that month (for example, employee-only coverage, employee and dependents coverage, employee, spouse and dependents coverage, etc.).” In order for this to be properly translated to the 1095-C from COATS, the user has to enter the correct data.
• Identifying if the employee enrolled or declined. Every qualified Non-Variable employee needs to be marked as having enrolled or declined coverage.
Additionally, if necessary, dependent data should also be entered.
Regardless, it is incumbent upon the business to ensure the accuracy of their data.
“It is imperative that your internal team understands the complexity of the ACA when coding related data regarding your temporary employees. As it will be this data which is used in creation of their year end forms,” said Sarach.
However, if an inaccuracy is discovered, it can always be changed in COATS to the correct information prior to generating the IRS forms.
Are you gathering your data yet?
Gathering data for your tax reporting should have begun Jan. 1, 2015. All the fields described above need to be tracked correctly from the start date of any employee’s assignments, especially in 2015.
If you have not yet started gathering this data, it’s not too late. Use COATS as a powerful tool, If you need assistance, our support team will help you through the process. But it is imperative for you to implement your process for collecting and entering your employee ACA information efficiently and accurately into the system starting now. Waiting until January to gather twelve months of data for every employee is asking for a non-compliance penalty.
According to HR Morning News (see their excellent primer on ACA), the most likely penalty as it relates to not providing these forms in a “timely manner” to the IRS or employees is a $250 fine per return.
“But like with many ACA penalties, the IRS said that it won’t impose penalties if firms can prove they made a good faith effort to comply with the 2015 reporting regs. But an “untimely” filed form won’t meet the good-faith requirement, the IRS said.”
See more ACA Non-Compliance Penalties.
“All of us at COATS are proud to partner with you and understand the complexity of the ACA,” Sarach concluded. “That’s why we’ve designed our system to do a lot of the heavy lifting. Help us, help you by getting started now.”
Are you ready to learn more?
Email Karen Connor for more information on how COATS’ ACA Tools can help you!
Are you already a COATS user? Do you have questions? Now is the time to ask them. Contact our support team and they will be happy to assist you with explaining the data entry and reporting process. If you are not a COATS user and you are wondering how you are going to be able to comply with ACA, schedule a demo with us. Learn more about how COATS can unlock your business’ potential!