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What is the ACA impact on S corporations that do not have a group plan and want to reimburse shareholders and/or employees for their individual health insurance premiums?

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Posted by Admin Posted on June 16 2016
What is the ACA impact on S corporations that do not have a group plan and want to reimburse shareholders and/or employees for their individual health insurance premiums?

The real impact of ACA on S corporations comes into play when there is no group plan for the business, but the business wants to pay premiums directly for shareholders or employees for individual policies, or wants to reimburse the shareholders or employees for premiums that they have paid personally.

Generally, under ACA, arrangements that provide reimbursements for medical costs to employees are not allowed. Under ACA, a medical reimbursement plan, or a similar plan that covers employee premiums, is not permitted unless it provides only ancillary benefits (dental, vision, etc.), covers only one participant, or is integrated with a fully qualifying group plan. In essence, an arrangement where an S corporation reimburses individual premiums, even if the premiums are reported as taxable income, is a violation of the ACA market reform rules. While these rules were to be effective beginning in 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2015-17 in February of 2015 which provided some relief. That notice provided that no penalties would be assessed for non-compliant reimbursement arrangements for small employers with less than 50 employees who directly pay or reimburse individual health insurance premiums from 1/1/14 through 6/30/15. It also provided that S corporations that directly pay or reimburse individual premiums for more than 2% shareholders are exempt from any penalties under ACA for such arrangements.

Special note: As indicated in Notice 2015-17, the Departments are contemplating publication of additional guidance on the application of the market reforms to a 2% shareholder-employee healthcare arrangement. Until such guidance is issued, the excise tax will not be asserted for any failure to satisfy the market reforms by a 2% shareholder-employee healthcare arrangement. Further, unless and until further guidance is issued, an S corporation with a 2% shareholder-employee healthcare arrangement will not be required to file Form 8928, Return of Certain Excise Taxes Under Chapter 43 of the Internal Revenue Code, solely as a result of having a 2% shareholder-employee healthcare arrangement. 

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