For employers with 50 or more employees, the clock has now officially clicked down to less than 90 days to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Employer Mandate. To ease the administrative burden of compliance, First Advantage, a Symphony Technology Group (STG) company, announces that its audit-ready, easy-to-use management tool, ACA Advantage™, is now available as three separate offerings for enterprise organizations, for smaller companies with 50-300 employees and for accounting firms, payroll firms and human resources (HR) and benefits consultants that partner with smaller organizations. The offerings help employers of various sizes fulfill – by the January 1, 2015 deadline – extensive, IRS-enforced reporting requirements related to the ACA’s employer mandate provision. The mandate requires that any employer with at least 50 persons working in the U.S. report considerable data concerning the nature of its workforce population and the offer of affordable health insurance coverage or face substantial penalties.
All three offerings – ACA Advantage™ Enterprise Edition, ACA Advantage™ Self-Service Solution and ACA Advantage™ Service Provider Edition – include an array of tools and features that help companies and their service providers more effectively and efficiently track the eligibility and characteristics of the workforce, model costs, mitigate risks and remain audit-ready. ACA Advantage is powered by robust back-end technology that compiles and tracks copious amounts of detailed data useful for talent management, benefits and tax compliance in addition to assisting with ACA compliance, yet it has a clean, intuitive interface. Convenient features include automatic alerts when individual employees hit key compliance thresholds and easy-to-generate and interpret trending reports that warn of emerging compliance threats before they trigger penalties.
“With the employer deadline less than 90 days out, companies are facing unprecedented levels of change this open-enrollment season and in many cases are in serious need of help to ensure they’re satisfying the complex reporting requirements of the IRS,” said Benjamin Smith, First Advantage Tax Consulting’s senior manager of tax products. “The Affordable Care Act can be likened to a very large maze, filled with nuances for calculating headcount, wage and hour data, health coverage policy information, Safe Harbor schedules and more. All three editions of our ACA Advantage platform offer a map to that maze, reducing company expense and hassle and cutting off wrong turns.”
To avoid failure-to-report penalties that can cost as much as $1.5 million, employers with 50 or more employees must determine and report monthly data regarding which and how many full-time and full-time equivalent employees are eligible for coverage. Determinations are based on headcount data from the preceding year and predicated upon calculations of 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month. Complexities arise when accounting for how many hours they worked during the IRS-defined measurement period and when factoring in variable hour workers, seasonal employees or employees who leave an organization only to re-join it at a later time. Furthermore, companies must certify whether or not and when coverage was extended to these employees, how long a given policy was available, how it figures into a total cost of benefits and what, if any, waiting periods may have occurred.
First Advantage Tax Consulting’s dashboard-driven ACA Advantage tracks all of the above, providing analysis tied to the IRS’s “look back” methodology, serving as reporting and audit support in line with current tax codes and equipping company leadership to make better informed decisions. Additionally, First Advantage’s team of legal, HR, tax, accounting, information technology and government relations experts are available to consult with organizations in numerous industries looking for assistance with headcount calculations, wage and hour reporting, compliance and audit preparedness and other services.
“Some employers may be under a false impression that because they are choosing to pay fines rather than offer affordable coverage to their employees, they are exempt from needing to report data about their company, employees and benefits,” said Smith. “Unfortunately, those companies may be setting themselves up for a rude awakening.”
To help educate employers about this ACA employer mandate and address their time-sensitive questions, First Advantage is embarking upon a multi-state road tour throughout the fall. Individuals can find a list of events by visiting https://acaadvantage.fadv.com/resources. To schedule a demo, or to learn more about ACA Advantage Enterprise Edition, ACA Advantage Self-Service Solution or ACA Advantage Service Provider Edition, visit https://acaadvantage.fadv.com/ or call (877) 338-5829.
About First Advantage Tax Consulting
The First Advantage Tax Consulting Services, a division within Symphony Technology Group’s comprehensive background screening, identity and information solutions business, develops and implements strategies that reduce clients’ tax liabilities, comply with the new Affordable Care Act requirements and increase profits/earnings per share though capturing the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, location-based state and local credits and negotiated economic incentives.
About Symphony Technology Group
Symphony Technology Group (STG) is a strategic private equity firm with the mission of investing in and partnering to build great software and services companies. In addition to capital, STG provides transformation expertise to enable its portfolio of companies to deliver more value to clients to retain and attract the best talent and to achieve best-in-class business performance. All STG portfolio companies are expected to grow through innovation. STG’s current portfolio consists of 12 global companies with combined revenue of approximately $2.5 billion and thousands of employees spread across North America, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visitwww.symphonytg.com. Note to editors: Trademarks and registered trademarks referenced herein remain the property of their respective owners.