Individuals aren’t the only ones who need to deal with changing health care regulations in the new year. Beginning this year, the employer mandate will go into effect, requiring certain employers to offer health insurance to employees. Although tax preparers have been aware of this mandate for quite some time, not all business owners have a complete understanding of the mandate and, honestly, I don’t blame them. I have spent the last year attending seminars and training sessions on the topic and even some tax professionals are unable to fully digest the mammoth regulation released by the IRS (although, the IRS has offered some help by posting this FAQ).
I find it easiest to explain the mandate to my clients through visuals. Although I do not use this exact chart, the Kaiser Family Foundation has published a helpful flowchart that consolidates the employer’s responsibilities under the mandate. It outlines the basics of the mandate and gives employers an idea of how it will affect their business. Again, similar to the individual health care penalty, employers need to be aware of a few nuances, such as what constitutes a full-time employee and how to define “affordable” health care, in order to determine if they are in compliance with the mandate.