Employer-Provided Health Coverage — Not Taxable; Reporting Requirement Optional in 2011
Starting in tax year 2011, the Affordable Care Act requires employers to report the value of the health insurance coverage they provide employees on each employee's annual Form W-2. However, to provide employers the time they need to make changes to their payroll systems or procedures in preparation for compliance with this requirement, the IRS will defer the reporting requirement for 2011, making that reporting by employers optional in 2011.
The revised Form W-2 for 2011 is now available in draft for viewing. This is the W-2 that most employees will receive in early 2012. The draft form includes the codes that employers may use to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan.
This reporting is for informational purposes only, to show employees the value of their health care benefits so they can be more informed consumers. The amount reported does not affect tax liability, as the value of the employer contribution to health coverage continues to be excludible from an employee's income, and it is not taxable.
Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
This new credit helps small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations afford the cost of covering their employees and is specifically targeted for those with low- and moderate-income workers. The credit is designed to encourage small employers to offer health insurance coverage for the first time or maintain coverage they already have. In general, the credit is available to small employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage for their employees. Learn more by browsing the IRS.gov page on the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers.