Want to Reimburse Your Employees for Healthcare Coverage?

Fine, but make sure that you do so correctly. Many employers prefer to reimburse employees for healthcare insurance premiums rather than hassle with providing coverage under a group healthcare plan. In so doing, these employers assume that this payment is excluded from the employee’s gross income. However, this assumption is both incorrect and potentially expensive.

In light of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has determined that, unless ACA requirements are satisfied, such reimbursements for individual healthcare coverage must be treated as ordinary income for the employee. This means that employers who wish to reimburse employees for health insurance must report the reimbursement payments as regular, W-2 income, subject to all applicable tax and other legal deductions. (See IRS Notice 2013-54.)

As any taxpayer knows, the failure to comply with tax reporting requirements can be expensive. In addition to the unpaid taxes, employers can be subject to a penalty of $100 per employee per day.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP.  It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked.  So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again.  This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing.  No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits).  But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you.  And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry).  Big news: Copyright 2015.  All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

If you have any questions about this article, contact the writer directly, assuming he or she was brave enough to attach their name to it.  If you have any questions regarding this blog or your life in general, contact Kelly O. Scott, Esq., commander in chief of this blog and Head Honcho (official legal title) of ECJ’s Employment Law Department, at (310) 281-6348.

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