IRS Interim Guidance For Employers On Affordable Care Act Health Cost W-2 Reporting Released

Updated: April 09, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service has released an advance copy of interim guidance implementing requirements that employers report to employees of the cost of their employer-sponsored group health plan coverage required under Internal Revenue Code (Code) § 6051(a)(14) of the Code, as enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The interim guidance contained in Notice 2011-28 generally applies beginning with 2012 Forms W-2 (that is, the forms required for the calendar year 2012 that employers generally are required to furnish to employees in January 2013 and then file with the Social Security Administration (SSA)).

The Affordable Care Act will require that employers report to employees information about the cost of employer provided health care coverage beginning in January 2013. According to Notice 2010-69, employers are permitted, but not required to report the cost of health coverage on any forms required to be furnished to employees prior to January 2013. However, any employers that choose to report earlier (on the 2011 Forms W-2 generally furnished to employees in January 2012) may look to this notice for guidance regarding that voluntary earlier reporting.

The reporting does not cause otherwise excludable employer-provided health care coverage to become taxable. Its primary purpose currently is to help promote employee awareness of the cost of health care coverage obtained through the employer's plan.

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