Employee Benefits-IRS Provides Interim Rules For Reporting The Cost Of Group Health Care Coverage On Form W-2

In Notice 2011-28, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) has provided interim guidance on reporting the cost of group health care coverage on Form W-2. The reporting is required under section 6051(a)(14) of the Internal Revenue Code, enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act. Generally, according to the Notice:

–the reporting on Form W-2 is for the employee’s information only, and does not cause the reported amount to become taxable;

–the guidance provided by the Notice generally first applies to 2012 Form W-2s (that is, the W-2s required for calendar year 2012 that must be furnished in January 2013)-as per Notice 2010-69, an employer is not required to report the cost of group health care coverage on any Form W-2 that must be provided before January 2013 (although reporting is optional for 2011 Form W-2s);

— for employers that are required to file less than 250 Form W-2s for 2011, the guidance in the Notice first applies to 2013 Form W-2s (those that must be furnished in January 2014)-these employers are not required to report the cost of group health care coverage on any Form W-2 that must be provided before January 2014; and
–no reporting is required for self-insured health care coverage that is not subject to federal COBRA.

The Notice provides details on how to calculate the cost of the group health care coverage that must be reported, and to whom the reporting requirement applies.