IRS’s Guide to ACA Compliance for Applicable Large Employers


In 2016, the Affordable Care Act has issued reporting requirements for applicable large employers. Because of
special circumstances, the IRS recently drafted a guideline for employers to clear up any questions in order to remain in compliance.

Applicable large employers are classified as employers with 50 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees. These employers must report if a full time employee was offered minimum essential coverage providing minimum value and if they accepted minimum essential coverage. The ACA has required applicable large employers (ALEs) to use Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage for its reporting requirements.

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Topics: 2016, aca compliance, applicable, benefits technology, compliance, forms, healthcare reform, IRS, large employers, reporting

Open Enrollment: your employees have no Idea what they are doing


Electing benefits during open enrollment can be a daunting and confusing task for employees. With multiple plans and types of coverage offered, most employees feel overwhelmed and are unable to consult with an expert in the insurance field to help in the decision making process. Employees end up enrolling in the same benefits year after year without knowing which plans are best tailored to their needs. As stated by a recent article from, employees surveyed are generally confused in these three broad areas:

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Topics: aca, benefits technology, coverage, enrollment

Understanding Retirement Plan Fiduciary Responsibility


When administering a retirement plan and managing its assets, it is important for employers and plan sponsors to know their specific responsibilities. Learning the standards of 401(k) and fiduciary responsibility can be a headache after keeping track of all the rules and regulations ERISA provides. Thus, 401(k) plan sponsors are seeking answers to help better understand their roles.

Here are some quick facts that can help you better understand your role and fiduciary responsibilities:

  1. A plan fiduciary is anyone who exercises discretion in relation to one’s 401(k) plan or employed by a plan sponsor who acts in a fiduciary role with respect to the retirement plan. For example, all 401(k) plan sponsors and every member of the investment committee is a fiduciary.
  1. A fiduciary has the ability to appoint a fiduciary. Resigning from the investment committee and missing investment Committee meetings will not relieve you of your responsibilities and will not affect your status.
  1. It is recommended that your adviser is a fiduciary. Determine if your adviser is a fiduciary by looking at your signed contract by looking at ERISA Section 3(38) or 3(21) fiduciary.
  1. A plan sponsor can only welcome and appoint more fiduciaries, but never relieve its fiduciary responsibility.
  1. Neither your plan’s record-keeper nor attorney are likely to be fiduciaries since they do not have discretionary authority.
  1. Fiduciaries are not responsible for insuring investment option performance.
  1. If proper due diligence was not exercised in choosing an investment option by prior fiduciaries, existing fiduciaries are not exempt from responsibility/liability if they decide to continue to offer the fund.
  1. Existing fiduciaries are not exempt from responsibility/liability if they continue to offer the fund recommendation made by an expert.
  1. Employers should have fiduciary liability insurance and your plan should also have an ERISA fidelity bond. You can contract for co-fiduciary services and elect to comply with a number of the safe harbors the regulations offer.


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Topics: 401(k), ERISA, fiduciary responsibility, plan sponsors, retirement plan

Comply with the ACA’s Employer Shared Responsibility Rules

Is your business prepared to handle the Affordable Care Act’s biggest requirement for business’?

The employer shared responsibility provision went into effect this 2015 calendar year. Constant coordination and communication between HR managers and payroll is needed in order to ensure accuracy in reporting requirements and payroll data.Here are five ways to ensure accuracy in order to avoid penalties:

  1. Keep track of reporting time periods
    • Choose a look-back period of three months to one year
  1. Coordinate with HR for accurate reporting
    • Complete Forms 1094C and 1095C for end of the year reporting for the 2015 tax year. Get information for employer status, coverage affordability, and eligible employees.
  2. Provide correct information for hours worked
    • Employee service hours are used to determine the full time status for the stability period, and ensure data provided covers the time period. Determine employer status and full time employees. Take note of personnel changes that affect employee’s full time status.
  3. Offer the right health care coverage
    • Make sure affordable coverage is offered to full time employees and dependents in order to avoid penalties.
  4. Determine affordability
    • Affordable health care under employer shared responsibility is coverage that does not cost over 9.5% of employee’s annual household income. Determine affordability through Form W-2, employee salary, or hourly rate information.


With Ashton Benefits’ free online platform, gathering accurate data for reporting requirements can be made easy. Ashton clients receive our system that tracks the correct information. Manually tracking information about your employees without it would be a nightmare. Your company can easily access and update data from your payroll, health insurance, and HR systems all online, in one place. Ashton Benefits is here to help you to remain compliant.

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Topics: aca, aca compliance, employer shared responsibility, healthcare reform, HR, hris, payroll, Technology