On January 20th, an executive order directed agencies to reduce potential burdens on employers due to the Affordable Care Act. That announcement kicked off a series of dialogues, predictions, and proposals that left employers wondering how to proceed. It was widely speculated that the IRS would not enforce ACA reporting this year, and employers could disregard the individual and employer mandate requirements without fear of penalties. This is not the case.
The IRS creates letters in response to taxpayer questions. While each letter is only advice to the taxpayer receiving the letter, reading over these answers can provide insight into the IRS' position on current issues. In two letters released this summer, 2017-0010 and 2017-0013, the agency stated the ACA remains unchanged. There is no order exempting taxpayers from the mandate, and the IRS does not have the power to waive penalties and shared-responsibility payments.
In regards to the January executive order, it does not change the Affordable Care Act. While the order directed agency heads to reduce any burdens, the law itself is still in place. The IRS has stated they will continue to enforce the ACA until the act is changed by Congress.
From letter 2017 - 0013:
"The recent Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal (January 20, 2017), directed federal agencies to exercise authority and discretion permitted to them by law to reduce potential burden imposed by the ACA. The Executive Order does not change the law; the legislative provisions of the ACA are still in force until changed by the Congress, and taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe."
For the time being, we're continuing with our ACA strategy as planned, and so are our clients. We'll be accepting a limited number of new clients before October 1, so reach out to reserve your spot today.