Maybe you are fed up with hearing about Affordable Care Act compliance. Your company meets or even surpasses the health care coverage mandated, so you feel all this ACA buzz does not even apply to you, given the generous benefits you provide.

But regardless of what you offer, there are still components of the ACA that need to be met. We are talking about the compilation and IRS reporting of detailed payroll and benefits data that must go on the new 1095-C form that businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, including equivalents, are required to produce for every full-time employee by March 31, 2016. (If you are self-insured, you must produce this form for every covered employee, regardless of your employee count.)

This is more than the year-end reporting you do on a W-2. And goes well beyond what can be sorted through on the basic spreadsheet. Monthly detailed hours of service must be compiled and organized, taking into consideration such things as jury duty, military leave, FMLA absences, vacation time and sick leave just to name a few. This is a year’s worth of information broken down month by month for only certain employees. For many employers, it can be completely overwhelming.

Some companies are hoping they are exempt because of their generosity with benefits. While these employers are meeting the spirit of the law, that generosity won’t help when it comes to complying with the letter of the law. The employer penalty for not filing any form required by the IRS is $500 per required return.

So if you are considering ignoring this part of ACA compliance, you might want to do just a little bit of math first: 51 employees x $500 = $25,500. That would be painful to pay out for any company, large or small.

Nevertheless, the process doesn’t have to be this dramatic or scary. There are tools available to assist you with an ACA reporting solution; webinars to attend that explain it all to you. The key is to act before it’s too late to have the right software installed. Some vendors are no longer doing installations, so it is imperative to find the right one that can turn it around in a day or two and get your staff trained as well. This is not a one-and-done scenario: You will need to gather this information both for this tax season and for next year’s as well. So it is best to get started today.

by Integrity Data