Over the last 6 years, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has dramatically changed the employee benefits landscape across the country for employers and employees alike. As the first year of ACA reporting deadlines have just passed, they first wave of IRS audits, as specified in the ACA, will begin.
The government views the ACA as a huge revenue source and they have pushed a lot of their resources to develop an auditing system. The federal agencies are becoming quite aggressive, especially when it comes to protecting participants, as they are charged by the law to have regular enforcement efforts.
There are many triggers that could prompt a potential ACA audit, here are 5 examples:
- Employee complaints
- Reporting failures
- Failures of IRS control group employers
- Other agencies identifying issues – (Agencies like the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will have a cross-referral agreement where they are required to share information about businesses not in compliance, thus triggering audits from multiple agencies.)
- Media reports – (Media coverage on an organization’s business not in compliance, thus triggering audits from multiple agencies.)
While you may not be able to totally avoid every trigger. The best way to avoid a full-fledged audit is to keep good records. Proper documentation is key to both avoiding and surviving an audit.
Lowering your chances of an ACA audit is key, here are 6 ways to help your organization look its best:
- Document good faith compliance on questionable issues – (This includes reviewing and adopting corresponding wording in all internal and employee-facing materials.)
- Compliance review – (Focus on administrative practices and make sure they are in compliance.)
- Correct failures found. (Make sure administrative processes are in order but when you discover an issue, hold internal compliance discussions to correct your failures.)
- Designate employee status. (Create realistic benefits expectations for employees by communicating their employee status and eligibility.)
- Train managers well. (Beware of practices to terminate or limit hours for employees to prevent them from eligibility levels. Understand the law and work within it for hiring, firing and scheduling practices.)
If your business is subject to an audit, knowing what it will look like and how to handle it will be key to passing with flying colors. Contact FreedomCare to help maintain your compliance and minimize your risk of an ACA audit.