The IRS gave us all a nice new year’s present in the form of newly released guidelines for employers on Health Care Reform



Internal Revenue Service

26 CFR Parts 1, 54 and 301


RIN 1545-BL33

Shared Responsibility for Employers Regarding Health Coverage


They are accepting comments now through March 18, 2013.


I would encourage you to take the time to review this document.  It covers items such as:

  • Transition relief for plans that do not renew on the calendar year - they do not have to make changes mid year.
  • Look back periods for determining if employees are full time
  • Transition periods for smaller employers who pass the 50 employee threshold
  • Who employers have to offer coverage to
  • Formally establishes the safe harbor for affordability
  • Safe Harbor for employers who offer coverage to full time employees – you must cover 95% of them
  • Common ownership rules for applying penalties
  • Clarifies that there is more guidance to come


You can submit your comments on


In a rare New Year’s Eve/Day session Congress passed the bill to make sure we did not go off the “fiscal cliff”.  The bill contains several things that are important to HR.

  • Permanently extends  employer-provided education assistance (Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code), which allows an employee to exclude from income up to $5,250 per year in educational assistance at the undergraduate and graduate level regardless of whether the education is job-related.
  • Permanently extends the increase in the monthly exclusion for employer-provided transit and vanpool benefits.
  • Extends federal emergency unemployment benefits for one year.
  • Reinstates and extends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit through 2013.
  • The legislation does not include an extension of the 2 percent payroll tax cut of the Social Security (FICA) employee tax.