Important Compliance Deadlines Fast Approaching

Important Compliance Deadlines Fast Approaching

January 14, 2013

The first quarter of the calendar year brings many requirements for employers, including annual deadlines related to taxes, OSHA posting requirements, and creditable coverage disclosures. This year also brings a new notification requirement under Health Care Reform. The following is a brief overview of four upcoming deadlines at the federal level.

January 31, 2013 – Form W-2 and EITC Notice

Before month's end employers must provide all employees with Forms W-2 and notify certain employees of the availability of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC or EIC).

  • Who? All employers.
  • What (Form W-2)? Employers must provide all employees with a wage and tax statement (Form W-2) on an annual basis. For additional information on Form W-2 reporting requirements or instructions, refer to IRS publications Employer's Tax Guide (Publication 15, Circular E) and Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3.
  • What (EITC notice)? Employers must also notify employees who have no federal income tax withheld that they may be able to claim a Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Additionally, you are encouraged to notify each employee whose wages for 2012 are less than $50,270 that he or she may be eligible for the EITC. Employers can meet the notification requirement by issuing the employee Form W-2 with the EITC notice on the back of Copy B, or a substitute Form W-2 with the same statement. You must give your employee Notice 797, Possible Federal Tax Refund Due to the Earned Income Credit, or your own statement that contains the same wording if: (a) you use a substitute Form W-2 that does not contain the EITC notice; (b) you are not required to furnish Form W-2; or (c) you do not furnish a timely Form W-2 to the employee. Visit the IRS website for more information.
  • When? No later than January 31, 2013.
  • State Implications: In addition to the notice that appears on the federal Form W-2, employees in several states, including California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, Maryland, Texas and Virginia must be notified that they may be eligible for the federal and state EITC by giving them a separate notice or posting such a notice in the workplace. Check your state law to ensure compliance.

February 1, 2013 - OSHA Form 300 Deadline

Employers that are subject to the recordkeeping rules of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the "OSH Act") must post an annual summary of injuries and illnesses in a conspicuous area of the workplace where notices to employees are customarily posted.

  • Who? Employers with 11 or more employees. However, employers with 10 or fewer employees at all times during the last calendar year as well as employers in certain low-hazard retail, finance, insurance, or real estate industries are exempt from OSHA's recordkeeping requirements. If an exemption applies, the employer is not required to complete the OSHA 300 Log or post the OSHA Form 300A. However, all employers regardless of size or industry must report to OSHA any workplace incident that results in a fatality or the hospitalization of three or more employees.
  • What? Throughout the year covered employers are required to record work-related injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 Log. At the end of each calendar year, covered employers must create an annual summary of recorded injuries and illnesses. The annual summary may be created using OSHA Form 300A. The summary must be posted annually.
  • When? Covered employers must post the annual summary in a conspicuous area of the workplace from February 1 through April 30 each year.

March 1, 2013 – Deadline to Inform Employees of State Health Care Exchanges

The Affordable Care Act ("ACA" or "Health Care Reform") requires employers to inform employees about the availability of state health care exchanges. Exchanges are state or regionally-based, competitive marketplaces where individuals and small employers can obtain health coverage from various health insurance carriers. Under Health Care Reform, exchanges are scheduled to be operational beginning January 1, 2014.

  • Who? All employers.
  • What? Employers are required to provide employees with certain information concerning state exchanges, such as a description of the state exchange, contact information, and the potential impact on the employee if he or she purchases coverage through an exchange (e.g., the employee may lose the employer contribution toward health insurance or that they may be eligible for a premium tax credit).
  • When? As of now, the deadline is March 1, 2013. For employees hired on or after March 1, 2013, employers must provide the notice at the time of hire.

Employers should work with their insurance company and/or legal counsel to meet the notification requirement. Prior to the March 1 deadline, the Department of Labor is expected to provide guidance on the components of the notice. As the deadline nears, visit HR411 for any further developments.

March 1, 2013 – Deadline to Submit Creditable Coverage Disclosures to CMS

Because the information you provide to your employees about prescription drug benefits could affect their decision to enroll, the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) require group health plan sponsors that provide prescription drug coverage to disclose on an annual basis whether the coverage qualifies as creditable or non-creditable.

  • Who? Group health plan sponsors that provide prescription drug coverage to Medicare Part D eligible individuals.
  • What? Covered plan sponsors must disclose to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) whether their coverage qualifies as creditable or non-creditable prescription drug coverage. This requirement applies to all plan sponsors that offer prescription drug coverage, even if they do not make such coverage available to retirees. Sponsors must disclose creditable coverage status to the CMS using the online "Disclosure to CMS Form."
  • When? For calendar year plans, the deadline is 60 days from the beginning of the plan year, or March 1, 2013. Plan sponsors must also submit a new disclosure form to the CMS within 30 days of any change in the creditable coverage status of a prescription drug plan (e.g., termination of a prescription drug plan). 

Note: Sponsors of plans that provide prescription drug coverage must also furnish Medicare Part D eligible individuals with a notice disclosing the creditable or non-creditable status of their coverage before the start of the Medicare Part D annual enrollment period.

Don't Forget About State Requirements

The compliance deadlines outlined above cover core deadlines at the federal level for the first quarter of the calendar year. Your state may have additional deadlines and/or new requirements taking effect this year. Review ourWinter 2013 HR Calendar for a brief summary of many of these changes.

 Source: HR 411