Under the Affordable Care Act, certain organizations must report information to the IRS and individuals about health insurance coverage. The reporting requirements apply to insurance companies, self-insured companies, applicable large employers and employers that provide health insurance to their employees. ACA information returns and transmittals are electronically filed through the ACA Information Return system, also known as AIR.
The ACA Assurance Testing System opens November 7 for tax year 2016 testing. AATS is a process to test software and electronic transmissions prior to accepting software developers, transmitters, and issuers into the AIR program. Software developers – including employers and issuers – who passed AATS for tax year 2015 will not have to retest for tax year 2016; their tax year software packages will be moved into production status. New participants need to comply with test requirements for tax year 2016.
Other non-ACA information returns – such as Forms 1099 – can be electronically transmitted through the Filing Information Returns Electronically system, also known as FIRE. Even if you previously used FIRE, if you are transmitting to AIR, you should familiarize yourself with the AIR procedures, which are different than those for FIRE.
If you are required to file 250 or more information returns, you must file them electronically. This requirement applies separately for each type of return and separately to each type of corrected return. All filers are encouraged to electronically file even if you have less than 250 returns.
IRS.gov/AIR has an array of tools and products to help you navigate the AIR system:
Publication 5164, Test Package for Electronic Filers of Affordable Care Act Information Returns – recently updated for processing year 2017.
Publication 5165, Guide for Electronically Filing ACA Information Returns for Software Developers and Transmitters — recently updated for processing year 2017.