BENEFITS: Hardship Exemption Rules Eased for 2018 Individual Mandate

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Services (CMS) has provided guidance
making it easier to claim a hardship
exemption from the individual mandate
under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for
Individuals may claim a hardship
exemption on their 2018 federal income
tax return without:
 Obtaining a hardship exemption
certification from the Exchange
 Providing any explanation or
documentation of the hardship
In past years, most individuals had to
apply for the exemption and receive a
certification from an Exchange to
Only certain individuals were able to
claim a hardship exemption without
obtaining a certification in prior years:
 Individuals with income below the
tax filing threshold
 Family members whose combined
cost of self-only coverage is
considered unaffordable
 Individuals who are eligible for
services through an Indian health
care provider
 Individuals who are ineligible for
Medicaid based on a state’s
decision not to expand Medicaid
Under the new guidance, any individual
can claim a hardship exemption without
obtaining a certification. This change
applies to 2018 only.
However, for all other eligible years,
individuals can still apply for hardship
exemptions through the Exchange, and
CMS will continue to process those as
No exemptions are required after 2018
because the individual mandate has
been effectively repealed beginning in

IRS Issues Letters to
The IRS has been sending Letter
5699 to employers that have not
complied with their ACA reporting
requirements for 2015.
Letter 5699 requests missing
information from applicable large
employers (ALEs) that were required
to report under Section 6056, but
failed to file Forms 1094-C and 1095-
C with the IRS. The IRS identifies
potentially noncompliant ALEs based
on their Form W-2 total employee
count reported for 2015.
Employers who receive a Letter 5699
should respond within the appropriate
time frame and provide all
appropriate information requested by
the IRS, including any forms that are
Penalties may apply for any
failures to file with the IRS by
required deadlines. The IRS will use
information provided in response to
Letter 5699 to identify noncompliant
ALEs and assess any penalties that
may be owed.

Another overhaul of the federal
overtime rules may be looming on
the horizon.
The Department of Labor has hinted
that it is looking to reveal its
proposed changes to overtime
eligibility in the first quarter of 2019.
Officials haven’t explained how this
latest revision will differ from the
stalled attempt in 2016. Experts
suspect the threshold will be lower
than the original $47,500 proposal.
Stay tuned for updates in early 2019.

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