Bipartisan, Bicameral IRS Reporting Reform Provides Safety Net, Relief
WASHINGTON, DC: (AUGUST 1, 2019): Today, the Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage issued its endorsement of the Commonsense Reporting Act of 2019 (S. 2366/H.R. 4070), bipartisan, bicameral legislation to bring clarity to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) tax credit eligibility and reporting process under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The legislation is sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Members Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and House Ways and Means Committee Members Congressmen Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Adrian Smith (R-NE).
“The Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage applauds Senators Warner and Portman and Congressmen Thompson and Smith for their leadership in providing consumers with a safety-net and businesses of all sizes with relief under the current complicated and burdensome IRS employer reporting system,” said Christine Pollack, the coalition’s Executive Director.
The Commonsense Reporting Act of 2019 provides consumers with help during the annual health coverage open enrollment process, employers with relief from the burdensome reporting requirements, and Exchanges with an additional tool to verify tax credit and subsidy eligibility. The legislation also protects Social Security numbers and modernizes the flow of information to consumers.
“Businesses in Virginia and across the nation are working hard to comply with our nation’s health care law, and we need to make sure they’re not being penalized due to flaws in the law,” said Senator Mark Warner, Ranking Member of the Taxation and IRS Oversight Subcommittee. “By improving and modernizing the employer reporting system, this bipartisan legislation will take an important step towards making sure that our health care system works for everyone, including employers who strive to provide suitable coverage for their workers,” Warner continued.
Senator Rob Portman, a member of the Taxation and IRS Oversight Subcommittee, added “I have heard from hundreds of employers in Ohio that have spent hundreds of administrative hours attempting to comply with the reporting requirements in the Affordable Care Act. This added time and resources has not improved the quality of health insurance employers offered but only further discouraged employers from offering health insurance and hiring more workers. This bipartisan bill will help streamline the reporting process by allowing employers to report information to the IRS prospectively, easing the burden for employers and employees.”
S. 2366/H.R. 4070 provides a pathway whereby data currently reported to the IRS during year-end tax filing season is instead reported during exchange open enrollment season. The prospective reporting option created under the legislation aids consumers, employers and Exchanges in better navigating the ACA eligibility and reporting process. This technical tax-process change is long overdue for consumers and employers.
Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson noted “it’s critical to ensure that we are making health care as accessible as possible for patients and as easy as possible for businesses to offer. That’s why I am proud to reintroduce the Commonsense Reporting Act, a bipartisan bill to streamline the health insurance reporting process for employers and protect patients from unfair claw backs of their insurance subsidies by making tax credit determinations more accurate. This is a simple way to improve health care access for our communities and ensure businesses can better provide coverage.”
“Too often employers who provide health insurance are burdened with arbitrary reporting mandates such as those created by the Affordable Care Act. This legislation would create a more efficient reporting system, reducing the risk of surprise financial penalties for both employers and employees. I look forward to working with my colleagues to see this commonsense bill signed into law,” stated Congressman Adrian Smith, Ranking Member of the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee.
The Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage is an advocacy alliance committed to ensuring that employment-based coverage is strengthened and remains a viable, affordable option for decades to come. P4ESC membership includes:
Jennifer Safavian, Executive Vice President, Retail Industry Leaders Association
“As it stands today, the reporting requirements for employers to verify ACA compliance are incredibly burdensome and unnecessarily complex. Retailers support this bipartisan, commonsense legislation to help streamline this process for both employers and their employees, and we thank Senators Warner and Portman, and Congressmen Thompson and Smith for their leadership in addressing this issue.”
Janet Trautwein, CEO, National Association of Health Underwriters
“Employers offering health insurance are suffering under burdensome reporting requirements. Fortunately, Congress is poised to offer relief. Lawmakers have introduced bipartisan bills to simplify some reporting requirements for employers who offer health insurance. These changes would save businesses time and money – thereby enabling them to continue offering benefits or resume offering insurance. This is great news for small businesses and consumers alike.”
Blake Adami, Vice President, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
“NAW supports the bipartisan Commonsense Reporting Act which provides consumers with help during the annual health coverage open enrollment process and employers with relief from burdensome reporting requirements. This bill also protects the privacy of individuals’ Social Security numbers, authorizes the electronic transmission of reporting information, and establishes oversight of reporting verification.”
Neil Trautwein, Vice President for Health Care Policy, National Retail Federation
“2019 is a great year to finally pass the Commonsense Reporting Act. It is long past due to bring common sense change to the Affordable Care Act’s byzantine reporting system. We congratulate the sponsors for their wise approach to fixing this corner of the ACA.”
Aaron Frazier, Director of Healthcare Policy, National Restaurant Association
“By streamlining burdensome reporting requirements, the Commonsense Reporting Act would save small businesses time and money. Policymakers can act now to help restaurants and hospitality businesses through simplifying these compliance standards. We are grateful for the leadership of Senators Warner and Portman and Congressmen Thompson and Smith on this important reform.”
Ed Lenz, Senior Counsel, American Staffing Association
“The staffing industry faces major burdens under the ACA because of the millions of reports staffing firms have to file each year for their short-term temporary employees. This sensible legislation will significantly reduce that burden and ease compliance with the law.”
Emily Dickens, Chief of Staff, Society for Human Resource Management
“SHRM members implement and comply with critical workplace policies every day, including the management and administration of health care benefits. This bipartisan, bicameral proposal will provide much needed relief to employers and employees by modernizing the reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act.”
Brian Crawford, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, American Hotel & Lodging Association
“AHLA and the hotel industry support the Commonsense Reporting Act to modernize and streamline IRS reporting requirements. Three out of every five hotels—more than 33,000 properties—are small businesses, and hotels of all sizes have a dynamic workforce that includes part-time and seasonal employees. They will all benefit from the reduced red tape and lower costs that comes with a streamlined reporting process. AHLA is pleased to see bipartisan support for this legislation.”
Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO, Associated General Contractors
“AGC members take pride in offering competitive health care benefits but the Affordable Care Act’s complex and unnecessary reporting requirements make it needlessly difficult. This measure offers commonsense changes to the act that streamline reporting requirements while offering increased protections for individuals.”
Kristen Swearingen, Vice President of Legislative & Political Affairs, Associated Builders and Contractors
“This bipartisan, commonsense bill would provide ABC member companies with much-needed relief from a complex and unnecessary IRS reporting requirement. Alleviating this burden for our members would allow them to dedicate more of their time and resources to doing what they do best – building our communities and supporting hardworking Americans.”
Ken Crerar, President & CEO, The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers
“On behalf of our members who aid employers in developing the best benefit packages for their employees, we are pleased to see bipartisan and bicameral support for this commonsense legislation that will provide efficiency to cumbersome reporting requirements. The ability to prospectively report information to the IRS will help employers of all sizes more efficiently administer their ACA obligations and manage their workforce.”