Tuesday, June 27, 2017

AMA Speaks Out: GOP Healthcare Bill Violates 'No Harm' Rule

Last week, we reported on some key facts surrounding the then-not-yet-released Senate GOP healthcare bill. The bill has since been made available for public consumption (and criticism).

The Senate’s Bill
The new bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), aims to roll back and repeal much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including many of the various tax provisions present in the Obamacare legislation. In addition to the bill’s original changes, Senate Republicans released an updated version this past Monday (the 26th) to include a provision meant to replace the individual mandate (instead of a fine, those whose insurance lapses will be locked out of coverage for six months) and close a loophole that could’ve hurt the health insurance market. You can find a breakdown of these changes, as well as the other key provisions of the BCRA, over at Business Insider.

To say this bill has been met with controversy is putting it lightly. Democrats and many other supporters of the ACA are staunchly set against the BCRA because of the conservative direction in which it’ll take our country’s healthcare. Additionally, a number of Republican representatives are against the bill because they don’t find it conservative enough.

What the AMA Has to Say
In a somewhat surprising twist, the American Medical Association also had something to say about the BCRA this past Monday. After researching and taking the bill into consideration, the AMA, one of the largest healthcare lobbying groups in the US, announced its opposition to the BCRA in an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY).

AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara, MD had this to say about the new bill:
"Medicine has long operated under the precept of Primum non nocere, or ‘first, do no harm.’ The draft legislation violates that standard on many levels.”

The new bill affects Medicaid funding as well as downsizes subsidies individuals can apply for to purchase health insurance. The bill plans to end the ACA’s Medicaid expansion by 2024 as well as put a cap on how much the federal government spends on the program overall. About this, Madara wrote:
“It seems highly likely [that the changes] will expose low and middle income patients to higher costs and greater difficulty in affording care…[This change would] limit states’ ability to address the healthcare needs of their most vulnerable citizens. It would be a serious mistake to lock into place another arbitrary and unsustainable formula that will be extremely difficult and costly to fix.”

The BCRA also contains language that would block Medicaid reimbursements to defund Planned Parenthood for one year. On blocking funding for the women’s health provider, Madara had this to say:
“We also continue to oppose Congressionally-mandated restrictions on where lower income women (and men) may receive otherwise covered health care services - in this case the prohibition on individuals using their Medicaid coverage at clinics operated by Planned Parenthood.”

You can read the AMA’s full letter to the US Senate here, but ultimately, the message it’s meant to deliver is this:
“These provisions violate longstanding AMA policy on patients’ freedom to choose their providers and physicians’ freedom to practice in the setting of their choice.”

It might be too early to say, but given the tumultuous conditions under which the BCRA has come to light, it’s unlikely the bill will pass. Which means we still live in the land of the ACA and may remain here for longer than some Congress members (and citizens) may like. So while we’re still here, know that ACAwise is here too for you! We’ve got year-round compliance tracking to keep your ACA data in order for the next filing season and we’ve got some of the friendliest folks ever on our US-based customer support team to help you through everything!

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Monday, June 19, 2017

5 Facts We Know About the Senate GOP Healthcare Bill

Last month, the House of Representatives voted to pass a GOP healthcare bill meant to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. As is required with new legislation, the bill was then sent to the Senate to be put to a vote there. And while it’s not completely atypical, rather than vote on the House bill, Senate Republicans began drafting their own healthcare bill. What is atypical about the whole process, however, is how secretive the Senate has been regarding exactly what this new bill contains.

In an age of translucency reaching near transparency, it’s difficult for citizens to accept a bill they know nothing about, even though it’s being voted on by officials elected by those citizens. More troubling still, however, is that many of those elected officials are being left in the dark as well. Recently, Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky, told NBC News about the bill, “I think it’s being written by someone somewhere but I’m not sure of who or where...If you get a copy of it, will you send me a copy?”

All this is not exactly reassuring, especially considering how divisive a topic healthcare has been since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, as well as how big of an issue it was in the most recent presidential election (and since). Now, insurance companies and individual states find themselves in a sort of limbo regarding what the future of healthcare holds. In some states, the delay in new legislation is driving insurers to raise ACA premiums. And Iowa, where 2 of the 3 top insurers intend to stop selling ACA plans in 2018, is even seeking to rewrite current ACA laws to create financial buffers to cover customers with high medical expenses.

So, with all that in mind, just what do we know about the Senate’s healthcare bill?

It Might Not Have Any Democratic Support
But it might not need it. Senate Republicans are aiming to make their new healthcare bill be budget neutral, which means they can use a process called budget reconciliation to pass it with a simple majority vote. Then, so long as 50 of the 52 Republican senators vote in favor of the bill, it could be passed in the Senate.

About The Writers
Here’s what we know about the writers: there are 13, they’re all Republican, and they’re all men. Among these writers are two of the Senate’s most conservative lawmakers: Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Mike Lee (UT). Two of the five female senators currently in office - Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (WV) and Jodi Ernst (IA) - were invited to join at least one meeting but are not contributing writers. Despite this, the bill is expected to include provisions that affect women more than men.

Regarding Pre-Existing Conditions
One of the biggest issues with the AHCA was that it removed legislation enacted by the ACA that prevented insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. The Senate bill reportedly does not allow insurers to do this, however, it does allow states to choose whether to require insurers to cover essential health benefits, including emergency room and maternity care, hospitalization, and prescription medicines.

It May Be The Nicer Version of the AHCA
There was a lot of excitement in Washington, D.C. after the House passed the AHCA, however, President Trump wasn’t entirely sold on the bill, even going so far as to call it “mean” during a closed-door meeting with GOP lawmakers according to the Associated Press. This could come from pressure placed on the GOP by the House Freedom Caucus, which stated the AHCA would hit poor and elderly Americans the hardest. In response, Trump has reportedly asked senators to make a “more generous” version.

The Secrecy Tactic is Working But the Bill May Still Fail
While it’s frustrating Democratic lawmakers and citizens alike, keeping the bill a secret seems to be keeping activists from generating any serious resistance. According to Vox, progressive activists are struggling to build enthusiasm against a bill no one - with the exception of certain senators - has read. Despite this, making the bill “more generous,” per Trump’s request, means excluding some of the provisions conservative lawmakers are pushing for the most. This means there's a fair chance the bill may not pass at all, despite the lower simple-majority threshold.

So if this new healthcare bill doesn’t pass, well, that means we’re still stuck with the ACA. Luckily, you’ve got ACAwise here with all the info you need about healthcare legislation, new and old. And while we’re still living under ACA law, we’re here providing year-round compliance tracking and monitoring so when/if it comes time to e-file those ACA Forms again, you’ll be ready!

To learn more about ACA compliance tracking and e-filing with ACAwise, give us a call! We’ll set up a one-on-one demo just for you and get you all set up to remain compliant under the current ACA laws!

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Monday, June 12, 2017

ACA Compliance Tracking is Here!

If you’ve been with us since the beginning, you may remember ACAwise being introduced as the number one, all-inclusive online software for everything ACA. Not only would you be able to e-file your Affordable Care Act Forms 1094 and 1095 with one of the leaders in the IRS-authorized e-filing, but you’d also have a secure, reliable way to track your ACA compliance throughout the year.

Unfortunately, in the midst of the “will they/won’t they” confusion surrounding overturning the ACA earlier this year - and during ACA filing season, no less - our compliance-tracking features took a back seat to helping get your e-filing done. But now, ACA compliance with ACAwise is back, and that means year-round compliance tracking to ensure you’re offering the right health insurance coverage offers to the right employees!

You’ll need to contact our customer support team to set up compliance tracking for your account, but once you have it’s simple, smooth sailing from there. All you have to do is upload your employee information, as well as your health insurance plan(s) details, into your ACAwise account. From there, our program will automatically begin analyzing and tracking your information each day to make sure your full-time employees (and full-time equivalent employees) are receiving the coverage the ACA requires.

From your dashboard, you’ll be able to see this compliance tracking in the form of real-time reports, like Determining Eligibility & Affordability, Monitoring & Forecasting Compliance, and even Penalty Calculations. That’s right: we’ve even included a report that assesses your data to see if you’re at risk of incurring an ACA compliance or reporting penalty.

Another perk worth noting if you go with the ACA compliance tracking option is that ACAwise can use that data it’s monitored all year to complete your return for your ACA reporting each year! Instead of filling out forms or uploading new information, all you’ll have to do is approve that everything looks correct on your forms, then securely e-file them with the IRS.

Seems simple enough, right?

If you’re interested in adding compliance tracking to your ACA profile (or signing up for an ACAwise account!), just give us a call! We’ll talk you through all the details and get you set up with the best online ACA compliance tracking tool in the biz!

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Monday, June 5, 2017

What Do 'We the People' Think of the ACA?

It’s a tumultuous time for health care in our country. At least, for health care coverage and plans, that is. The Affordable Care Act was enacted over seven years ago amidst controversy and, while the nation’s views on the subject have become less clear-cut with regard to party lines, it’s safe to say the discussion surrounding the ACA is still a divisive one.

To remedy the controversy, our newest presidential administration did introduce the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as a replacement for the ACA, but the nuances of the bill couldn’t be agreed upon and the matter was temporarily deferred to focus on other issues. So while we’re stuck in political limbo as far as our health care laws are concerned, just how do the American people view the Affordable Care Act, as it stands? Since an official replacement hasn’t been enacted, it is still the law of the land, which means we’re all still subject to its rules and regulations. But how do we feel about it?

The Kaiser Family Foundation has been running a poll over the past several years asking Americans just that: “As you may know, a health reform bill was signed into law in 2010. Given what you know about the health reform law, do you have a generally favorable or generally unfavorable opinion of it?”

As you can see, since 2010, the percentage of those in favor of the ACA and those against it, overall, are almost equal. Only when the percentage of those who aren't sure of their stance spikes to just over 20% in early 2013 do we see a significant gap between those who are for and those who are against the ACA. But what happens if we break this down further? Say, by how those who were polled identify politically?

Talk about divisive! The only ratings consistently higher than the Democrats' approval of the ACA are the Republicans' disapproval. But really, that's not all too surprising. What if we take something else into account like, say, income?

What’s interesting about this breakdown is that, with the exception of those who make $90,000 or more during the year, those polled generally went from an unfavorable opinion of the ACA to a favorable one. This could be a result of confusion over the ACA’s regulations when it was first introduced being cleared up in the time since those regulations were officially enacted. Still, one has to wonder if it has to do with the fact that the newer legislation introduced as a replacement for the ACA tends to be more beneficial to those with higher incomes.

According to the charts, when broken down by age, the only group now more unfavorable of the ACA than in favor of it are those between the ages of 50 and 64. And while half of both men and women seem to feel more favorable to the ACA, there’s a much more significant gap between women in favor than those against the act.

Keeping in mind that the results based on subgroups may have a higher sampling of error margin than plus or minus 3 percentage points, it’s also worthy to note the difference in opinions among races. Here’s that breakdown, as of May 2017:
  • -White pollers
    • -43% favorable opinion of the ACA
    • -50% unfavorable opinion of the ACA
    • -7% don’t know
  • -Black pollers
    • -73% favorable opinion of the ACA
    • -19% unfavorable opinion of the ACA
    • -8% don’t know
  • -Hispanic pollers
    • -61% favorable opinion of the ACA
    • -22% unfavorable opinion of the ACA
    • -18% don’t know

To see the breakdown of opinions yourself, you can check out the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll’s interactive chart here. And for more information on the ACA, AHCA, and everything in between, stay tuned with ACAwise!

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You Can Still E-file With ACAwise

While House Republicans celebrated a victory when they passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a couple of weeks ago, the bill still has an uphill battle to pass in the Senate. Which means…

Ding ding ding! That’s right: the ACA is still very much in effect.

And while the deadline to have your ACA Forms 1094 and 1095 e-filed with the IRS to report your 2016 tax year was at the end of March

Ding ding ding! Right again: you can still e-file your 2016 ACA Forms with ACAwise!

Of course, we can’t guarantee that the IRS won’t impose any late filing penalties because you are filing late. However, the faster you get your return completed and filed, the less harsh these penalties will be. One thing’s for sure: if you don’t file your 2016 return and the ACA sticks around, you could be setting yourself up to receive a very unpleasant letter from the IRS (if you haven’t already).

At ACAwise, we’ll help make it easy to complete and file your ACA return. All you need to do is send us your employer, employee, and health care offer(s) information in whatever format you’ve already got. We’ll fix up your 1094 and 1095 Forms then, once you’ve reviewed them, securely transmit them to the IRS. We’ll even send you an email once the IRS has processed your return.

So if you haven’t e-filed yet, don’t wait around any longer. Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll help get you started with an ACAwise account so you can transmit your 2016 ACA return!

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Trumpcare vs. Obamacare

Boy, Washington’s been quite a-flutter lately, hasn’t it? Just last week, the House of Representatives voted 217 to 213 to pass the GOP health care bill meant to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The GOP’s legislature has been called the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and has been called out by various media, medical, and advocacy groups for the potentially detrimental changes should it succeed in repealing the ACA. The American Medical Association even had this to say about the new law:

The bill passed by the House [today] will result in millions of Americans losing access to quality, affordable health insurance and those with pre-existing health conditions face the possibility of going back to the time when insurers could charge them premiums that made access to coverage out of the question.

The House GOP, however, maintains that the proposal would allow individuals and states more options when it comes to health insurance which should, in turn, make coverage more affordable overall.

So what are the main differences between the current legislature (the Affordable Care Act aka the ACA aka Obamacare) and the bill that still needs to pass through an increasingly reluctant Senate (the American Health Care Act aka the AHCA aka Trumpcare)? Well, sit back, because we’re here to tell ya!

The Affordable Care Act introduced legislation that made it illegal for insurers to charge those with preexisting conditions more for coverage; it also made it illegal for insurers to charge older consumers more than three times what they charge younger consumers. It also barred insurers from imposing annual or lifetime limits on coverage. Under the ACA, individuals were also required to enroll in health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty.

Under the GOP’s new option, how coverage for those with preexisting conditions is handled would be left up to the states. Guaranteed coverage is not explicitly eliminated, but states can seek waivers from several consumer protections. States would also be allowed to scale back benefits insurers must cover; with how the law is structured, insurers could reimpose annual and lifetime limits on certain coverage. Insurers in states that allowed it would also be able to charge sick consumers more as well as charge older consumers as much as five times more than younger consumers. The AHCA does drop the tax penalty imposed for not having health insurance, but anyone who goes without insurance for more than two months would incur a 30% premium surcharge when they tried to purchase a new plan.

Number of Uninsured
Thanks in part to the tax penalty imposed by the ACA - and also in part to the tax subsidies it offered - the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced an unprecedented 20 million people became newly insured as a result of the ACA. Currently, the estimated amount of uninsured people in America is approximately 28 million.

While the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is still completing its independent analysis of the AHCA, it’s unclear how the revised bill would change the original estimate of growth in uninsured citizens with the new legislation. The CBO initially predicted, based on the original version of the GOP health care plan, about 24 million more Americans would lose coverage by 2026, mostly affecting low-income Americans and those nearing retirement. Of course, we’re still waiting on the nonpartisan CBO’s latest analysis to determine if this has changed any with the newest updates.

Insurance Subsidies
Under the ACA, insurance subsidies worked a little like this:
  • -Those using the healthcare marketplace who make less than $48,000 a year receive subsidies to help buy insurance.
  • -The amount of that subsidy is directly related to the person’s income and the cost of insurance where they live.
  • -The subsidy is automatically applied to the consumer’s monthly insurance bill rather than having the consumer wait for a rebate.
Under the AHCA, insurance subsidies will work a little like this:
  • -People are still eligible for subsidies, however, they will phase out at incomes of $75,000/year.
  • -The amount of the subsidy is directly related to the person’s age but will not vary based on the cost of coverage in the area. The newest tax credit proposal is as follows:
    • -Age 20-29: $2,000
    • -Age 30-39: $2,500
    • -Age 40-49: $3,000
    • -Age 50-59: $3,500
    • -Age 60+: $4,000
In General
As far as subsidies go, it will all depend on your income, age, and location as to whether the ACA or AHCA is a better deal for you. As the Kaiser Family Foundation study pointed out, for instance, an older, lower-income American living in an area with higher premiums (like Alaska or Arizona) will likely lose out if the ACA is replaced. However, a younger, higher-income American in an area with lower premiums (like Massachusetts or Washington) may receive assistance under the AHCA.

One of the components of the ACA helped to expand Medicaid to cover more Americans. Under the ACA, the federal government allots money to states depending on how much medical care the state’s Medicaid patients receive. This ended up with the federal government covering almost the entire cost of expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income adults without children in the 30 states and D.C. that elected to expand their programs.

The AHCA proposes a fixed “per capita cap” or “block grant” to replace the current Medicaid system, which is decades old. Under this new system, each state would receive a fixed amount of money each year that increases annually by a percentage linked to the inflation rate. Any additional federal funding that was allotted for coverage Medicaid expansion would be eliminated by 2020.

Tax Changes
Through the ACA, taxes were set up to pay for subsidizing insurance to ensure more covered individuals. With these tax requirements, insurance companies and medical device makers, as well as taxpayers with incomes over $250,000, were taxed more to cover the subsidies provided under Obamacare.

The AHCA eliminates most of these taxes, arguably making this proposal much more beneficial for medical device makers, insurance companies, and wealthy Americans. While these tax cuts total about $600 billion over the next decade, the GOP proposal does not include any new tax to offset this loss of revenue.

As the Senate debates and prepares for the vote on the GOP’s new health care proposal, we’ll be here making sure you have all the information (and e-filing product) you need to be prepared for any upcoming ACA or AHCA reporting! So be sure to stay tuned with ACAwise for the health care reporting information you need when you need it!
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Monday, May 1, 2017

Tax-Exempt Organizations Have an IRS Deadline Soon

Nonprofits have a very special place in our society. They help fill in the moral and ethical spaces society can create to make the world a better place for all. That’s why when an idea is brought to the nonprofit sector and grows into a tax-exempt charity, foundation, etc., the IRS has measures in place to cover their taxes while they contribute time, supplies, and manpower to the world’s woes.

Of course, not every nonprofit qualifies for tax-exempt status, which is why tax-exempt organizations must report information to the IRS each year. The information reported is an in-depth look at the nonprofit’s finances to ensure the right amount of money coming into the organization is allocated for its operational purpose(s). If too much is going to for-profit endeavors, board member salaries, or anything else that it impedes the charitable purpose, the IRS will perform an audit to determine if tax-exempt status is still applicable to the organization.

Tax-exempt organizations report all this information on one of the 990 Series Forms. The traditional long form, also known as Form 990, is typically filed by organizations with at least $200,000 in gross receipts and/or total assets of at least $500,000 in value. This is the most in-depth tax-exempt information return but is not the most widely-used.

The vast majority of tax-exempt organizations fall into either the Form 990-EZ (gross receipts less than $200,000 but more than $50,000) or the Form 990-N (gross receipts less than $50,000) category. Form 990-N is an online-only form also known as the e-Postcard, and Form 990-EZ can either be paper filed or filed electronically. Regardless of gross receipts, if a tax-exempt organization qualifies as a private foundation, it must file Form 990-PF to report financial data.

No matter what 990 Form an organization files, it must file it with the IRS by the 15th day of the fifth month after its tax year ends. Since most organizations operate on a calendar year tax year, which runs from January 1 to December 31, the unofficial “Official Tax-Exempt IRS Deadline” is May 15. And you may have noticed that due date is coming up! But don’t worry too much if you’re not ready: for all 990 Forms except the 990-N, extension Form 8868 can be filed to extend the tax-exempt deadline (whatever your deadline) for six months.

We’re bringing all of this up over here at ACAwise because we know that nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations aren’t run by elves or oompa loompas. They’re run by every-day people, volunteers who are ambitious enough to take on a little world-wide home improvement when they’re not at work.

So if you are (or someone you know is) active in a tax-exempt organization, here’s help out a little further: see if they have a plan for filing a 990 Form this year. If not (or even if they do), check out ExpressTaxExempt! They’re one of our sister products and have everything you need to complete Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, 990-PF, or even Form 8868 quickly and easily!

If you have any questions, check out their site or give us a call and we’ll connect you with an ExpressTaxExempt team member who’ll be happy to help! You can also contact them directly by phone (704-839-2321) and live chat Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST, or by email 24/7 at!

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Monday, April 24, 2017

First Quarter 941 Forms Are Due Soon!

When you own a business, the work never stops. The buck starts and stops with you, and you’re the one responsible for making sure every i is dotted and every t crossed. You’re also the one who’s responsible for filing your business’s quarterly tax return with the IRS (or, at least, responsible for delegating that task to someone).

And, wouldn’t you know it, with the ending of 2017’s first fiscal quarter in March, we’re coming up on the deadline to file your First Quarter 941 Form! This year, it’s May 1, 2017, since April 30 falls on a Sunday. That means you have just over a week left to get that paperwork filed!

But what if you decided not to file paperwork?

As we pointed out a couple of weeks ago, it’s possible to e-file your quarterly tax forms with the IRS, which would save you time and save the Earth a few trees. So that’s something to think about after Earth Day weekend.

Now, with your 1099s, you’ve got a different deadline for e-filing than for paper filing. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with the 941 Forms. Since these forms report quarterly information and those quarters - like time - keep marching on there isn’t much space in the calendar to have a paper filing and e-filing deadline for the 941 Forms.

Still, there are other benefits to e-filing Form 941 that paper filing just can’t offer. For one thing, e-filing is exponentially faster than paper filing. For another example, most programs that are IRS-authorized to file Form 941 also offer the option to pay your taxes for the quarter right there through an electronic funds transfer (EFT) or send a check later. And when you e-file with someone like our sister product, ExpressTaxFilings, your 941 Form will be sent through a series of error checks before you transmit to ensure everything was filled out correctly.

Time’s running out to get those 941 Forms filed for the first quarter of 2017 so if you haven’t decided how you’re going to be filing, might we suggest ExpressTaxFilings? Like ACAwise, it’s a faster, easier alternative to traditional IRS e-filing and, also like ACAwise, has some of the best online security in the business. If you’d like more information on getting started, give us a call and we’ll get you in touch with an ExpressTaxFilings team member right away. You can also call them directly at (704) 684-4751.

Happy (e-)filing!

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Don't Forget: The ACA Extension Deadline is Coming Up!

Hey there, ACA filers! If you used Form 8809 way back before March 31 this year to extend the deadline to file your Affordable Care Act Forms 1094 and 1095 with the IRS, here’s your friendly reminder that your new and extended deadline is coming up soon!

There’s no doubt that March was a busy month, which means you would’ve had to rush through your return to get it done, and that’s why the IRS came up with deadline extension forms: to help make sure you can get your forms completed and filed correctly. So the original deadline was March 31, 2017, for your tax year 2016 ACA Forms and you applied for a 30-day extension with Form 8809, which means your new deadline is coming up in less than two weeks on April 30, 2017.

But wait, you may be saying, the 30th is on a Sunday and right you are! So technically your real deadline is May 1, 2017, since the IRS will be closed on your official new deadline.

Now, some of you may have taken Form 8809 one step further and applied for a non-automatic, additional 30 days to file with a second paper 8809 Form. If that’s the case, your deadline’s still coming up, but not as quickly - May 31st rather than April 30th.

And if you still need somewhere to file, you can do so quickly and easily right here with ACAwise! Just upload your ACA data as you already have it and our program does the rest. Review your forms once they’re done then securely transmit them to the IRS. Simple as that.

If you have any questions about the extended deadline or getting started with ACAwise, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’re available Monday through Friday by phone (704-954-8420) and live chat and offer 24/7 assistance via email at

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Not Ready for Tax Day? We Can Help!

Okay, guys, we already got a little bit of an extension with Tax Day, what with the 15th falling on a Saturday and today being Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in Washington, D.C.

However, just because you got a little more time that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready ready to file your personal tax return. Hey, we get it: tax forms can be a hassle and it’s incredibly normal to want to put off dealing with hassles for as long as we’re able. In fact, the IRS understands this tendency in human nature, which is why extension applications are available for most return forms.

For the 1040 Series, which includes Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040-EZ, 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-PR, and 1040-PS and is used to report personal income tax information, that extension application is Form 4868.

BUT! If you want to get an extension with Form 4868, you’ll need to act fast! It’s due on Tax Day too, which is Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in case you needed a reminder. Luckily, unlike your tax return, Form 4868 is super quick and easy to complete and when you e-file it, you’ll likely get an approval from the IRS within 15 minutes.

We can agree taking maybe 20 minutes to get 6 more months to file your personal tax return is not much of a hassle at all. And we could argue that ExpressExtension is the best place to complete and e-file Form 4868 online! We may have revealed our bias last week when we introduced our sister product, but it really does have it all: a simplified, interview-style form completion process, built-in error checks, tax liability payment options, and best of all - that quick return on your 4868’s IRS acceptance confirmation.

Now, it’s important to remember that Form 4868 doesn’t extend the deadline to pay any taxes you may owe. Those still need to be sent by April 18. Form 4868 is meant to only extend the amount of time to file the tax forms that make up your personal return.

So, if you’re ready to get six more months to file your personal tax return, pop on over to and sign up to get started!

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Form 1040 Filers: Here's How You Can Get 6 Extra Months to File!

No matter what kind of business you run and ACA Forms you file, chances are, you file some version of the Form 1040 for your personal taxes. And whether it’s Form 1040, 1040A, 1040-EZ, 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-PR, or 1040-SS, it’s due Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Unless that is, you apply for an extension!

That’s right: just like your ACA Forms and business tax return, your personal tax return deadline can be extended with just a little application. That application is Form 4868, by the way, the Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns. And like other extension applications, it doesn’t extend your time to pay any taxes you owe, but it does grant you an automatic 6-month extension to file your tax forms with the IRS*.

*That “with the IRS” bit is important: Form 4868 is a federal form, so it doesn’t extend your state personal tax deadline, but there may be a form available for your specific state you can utilize instead.

To complete Form 4868, you’ll just need to provide your basic taxpayer information (name, address, SSN), the form you normally file, and your estimated 2016 tax liability. In other words, you’ll need to state whether you expect a tax refund or what you plan to pay in taxes for the 2016 tax year. It’s okay if this is a guess, or even incorrect, so just try your best. If your income hasn’t changed much, you can probably even use previous-year returns to make a better estimate. You also have the option to go ahead and pay your taxes when you file Form 4868.

Another point to note about Form 4868: if you plan on filing your taxes jointly with a spouse, you’ll need to indicate so on your application. You’ll also need to provide your spouse’s taxpayer information, including their name, address, and social security number. And, of course, the deadline to have Form 4868 submitted is the same as your tax return deadline (April 18).

Well, you know if we introduced the form to you, we’ve got a way for you to e-file it! You may have heard us mention before about our sister product, ExpressExtension (they also offer the 7004 Extension Form). And if you can put two and two together, you know exactly where we’re going: you can quickly and easily e-file Form 4868 through ExpressExtension!

Just head on over to to learn more or to get started! And if you have any questions, you can always give us a call and we’ll put you in contact with a member of our just-as-stellar ExpressExtension support team, or you can call them yourself at (803) 514-5155.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

5 Ways to De-Stress After ACA Season

Unless you used the Form 8809 extension, it’s safe to say that by this point your Affordable Care Act filing for the 2016 tax year is over and done with*! Time to take a deep breath and relax!

(*PS, if it’s not, that’s fine, just check out what to do if you still need to file after the deadline!)

The first quarter’s always a big one for the parts of running a business that aren’t necessarily as fun - you’ve got tax filing and now ACA filing, all the while you’re trying to predict and plan for how things are going to go for the rest of the year. Sometimes (like now), it takes a little more than a deep breath to deeply de-stress.

Look, you’ve got about a week or so before personal taxes are due, so why not take a bit of that time to yourself to forget about the stresses of the past few weeks and ready yourself for the year to come? Sound good? Good! Because we’ve got a few suggestions for how you can do just that:

Take a Looong Bath
A long, hot bath is just what the doctor ordered for slowing down the outside world and the one going on in your head. A hot bath before bed can help you get a better night’s sleep and relaxes sore back muscles, which tense up when you get stressed. A 2002 study even found that the combination of bodily comfort, warmth, isolation, and body position (aka being warm, horizontal, and alone) that comes from a bath can significantly improve mood and optimism.

Get a Massage
You probably don’t need us to tell you that getting a massage can do wonders for your stress levels. You probably also don’t need us to tell you that taking the time to go get a massage isn’t always an option, time-wise or financially. Luckily, there are techniques you can try at home to help keep the stress at bay until you can make an appointment with that masseuse!

Take a Hike
Or go for a walk with your dog. Or your significant other. Or yourself. The point we’re getting at here is for you to get active in nature. Sunlight stimulates serotonin, your feel-good neurotransmitter, while the rhythm and repetition of walking can have a tranquilizing effect on the brain. And when your brain’s calm, you’ll feel your anxiety levels decrease, your sleep improve, and your stress on the way out the door.

Eat Some Sweets
Of course, we don’t want you to binge and go overboard, but rewarding yourself with a few sweet treats can help your stress levels go down. A spoonful of honey, for example, can give you an instant energy kick and is packed with antioxidant and antibacterial properties to get you feeling good. And when you feel good, you manage your stress good - or, uh, well. Mangoes are also a great sweet treat for de-stressing; research from Japan shows that their sweet, tangy scent can actually alter your blood chemistry to help your body feel calm.

Go to a Concert or a Comedy
Music and laughter: two of stress’s biggest enemies! The University of Maryland has found that listening to music you love can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. Good for your heart, good for your stress levels, and, of course, good for your ears! And laughter: laughter has been found to reduce stress hormones and help your immune cells function better. With music and laughter, you’ll knock that stress right outta the park.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Need a New Way to File Your 941 Forms?

If you’ve been in business a while - or maybe even as you’re just starting out - you’ve probably noticed things are always changing. In fact, one of the few things that likely hasn’t changed since you opened your business’s doors is filing your quarterly Form 941 tax report with the IRS the tried and true way: on paper.

Until now.


The IRS has been making the effort to digitize the filing process by offering e-filing options for more and more required tax and information returns. Form 941, a quarterly form, is the perfect example of how making the leap to e-filing could save you time and effort. And not only is e-filing simpler, the parameters that go into setting up an IRS-authorized transmittal system make e-filing the safer and more secure option as well.

When you e-file Form 941 with an IRS-authorized e-file provider, like ACAwise’s sister product, ExpressTaxFilings, the process will go a little like this:
  • -Sign up with your desired IRS-authorized e-file provider.
  • -Select to file a Form 941.
  • -Enter your employer information.
  • -Enter your wage and tax data.
  • -Review your form, pay any taxes due, and transmit to the IRS.
Of course, since ExpressTaxFilings is brought to you by the same people as ACAwise, you can trust that they’ve simplified the process even further with their step-by-step instructions and built-in error checks.

There’s no better time than the present to give one more change to your business a try, especially since the first quarter deadline for Form 941 is at the end of this month. So go ahead and give e-filing a shot, and check out ExpressTaxFilings to transmit your Form 941!

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Miss the ACA Deadline? Here's What You Need to Do

Okay, guys the Affordable Care Act Form deadline was March 31! How many of you made it?

*Looks around like a teacher hoping all her students have their hands raised because they did the homework.*

If you didn’t, that’s okay: this isn’t actually school, so we understand things get in the way. No metaphorical principal’s office for you.

The IRS, too, can be a little understanding in these cases, but you’ll need to get to an IRS office or contact them another way. They’re lenient enough to forgive any late filing penalties IF you can prove something super serious kept you from being able to file your ACA Forms. And their leniency will go a lot farther if you’ve since filed - or are currently making efforts to file - complete, correct returns.

So, what do you need to do?

Well, unfortunately, you can’t dispute any IRS penalties until you’ve been assigned them, so just get yourself mentally prepared for that letter.

(Remember: the IRS will only initiate contact with you by postal mail. If you receive an unprompted email or phone call from the IRS saying you owe money or asking for your social security number, use discretion and contact your local IRS office immediately to verify because it’s most likely a scam.)

In the meantime, make sure to get your ACA Forms filed as quickly as possible. At this point, e-filing is pretty much the only way to go, especially since the paper filing deadline was February 28. But, no worries: e-filing is more secure, less likely to result in errors or a rejection, and is way, way faster than completing your forms on paper.

And wouldn’t you know it, IRS-authorized ACAwise is still accepting ACA filings for the 2016 tax year! So go ahead and sign up now to get those forms in ASAP!

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Friday, March 31, 2017

The Deadline's Today: Get More Time to File Your ACA Forms!

You read that right: TODAY is the LAST DAY to E-FILE YOUR ACA FORMS!!

We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again now: the Affordable Care Act Forms 1094 and 1095 reporting information for the tax year 2016 are due (today) March 31, 2017.

Now, if you start the e-filing process for your ACA Forms today, there’s, unfortunately, no guarantee that you’ll be able to get them transmitted to the IRS by 11:59 p.m. tonight (your time). There’s just a lot of info that goes into these forms, info that involves long numbers that absolutely must be in the right sequence and ACA codes that absolutely must be correctly used. Most of us aren’t built to handle that sort of intricacy on such short notice.

Which is why the IRS has an alternative. They get that things come up. They get (maybe) that information return forms aren’t that fun. So they offer the Form 8809 extension form as an option for ACA filers who need a little more time to get things together to file.

If Form 8809 sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also the extension form for other information returns, such as 1099 Forms (which are also due today!) and W-2 Forms. Last year, Form 8809 couldn’t be used to extend the ACA Form deadline because the IRS had already designated an automatic 3-month extension for all first-time ACA filers on each deadline.

This year, you can most certainly e-file Form 8809 for an automatic 30-day extension for your ACA Forms (as well as any of those other forms if necessary). And like the other forms, you’re not required to provide a reason for why you’re requesting extra time to file. Unless you’re requesting a second extension after getting approval for your first, which you can only do on paper.

Remember that Form 8809 must be e-filed by the original deadline as the form for which you’re submitting for an extension. Which means to extend your ACA or 1099 Form deadline, you’ll need to file that Form 8809 today as well.

And if you’re looking for somewhere to file Form 8809, you can always check out our sister product, ExpressExtension! It’s super simple, super quick, and is only $3.55! Check out their website ( or give them a call (803-514-5155) to learn more!

Today’s going to be a busy one, but we know you can make it! Now, go get to e-filing!

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What You Need to Know About ACA Filing Penalties

Affordable Care Act Forms 1094 and 1095 are due this Friday, March 31, 2017! And since we’ve established the ACA is here to stay (at least a little while), the ACA filing penalties are here to stay as well. The GOP ACA replacement bill was set to include a repeal of the ACA’s reporting penalties extended to businesses and insurance providers who don’t file (or file late) their 2016 ACA return and, without this, we’re left to assume the late-filing penalties initially instituted by the ACA will remain.

So, needless to say, it’s very important that you get those ACA Forms on time!

If you suspect you may be at risk for not filing on time, go ahead and get yourself an extra 30 days to file by filing Extension Form 8809 over at ExpressExtension. It shouldn’t take long, so if you want to do that now while you’re thinking about it - we’ll wait!

Okay, now that that’s done, let’s see just what you’re managing to miss out on:

The Penalties (duh, duh, duhhhh)
So what can filing your ACA Forms late end up costing you? Take a look:
  • -Failing to file a correct information return (a 1094 or 1095 Form in this case) with the IRS can incur a penalty of $260 per form, not to exceed $3,193,000 in a calendar year.
  • -Failing to provide a correct information return (1095 Form) to the individual for whom the form is reporting information can incur a $260 penalty per form, again not to exceed $3,193,000 per calendar year.
  • -You can also incur a $260 per form penalty if you’re required to e-file (like when you have more than 250 Forms per return) but submit paper forms instead.
And if you intentionally disregard to file these forms at all, the IRS can pull out the big guns and increase your per-statement and total penalties for your missing return.

At ACAwise, we’re dedicated to helping you file your ACA Forms correctly and on time so you can avoid any ACA filing penalties! But you’re going to need to hurry up and get started because there’s only so much we can do when time keeps marching on!

If you have any questions about the ACA e-filing process, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (704) 954-8420 or send us a live chat during our office hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST. You can also send us an email anytime at and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Trump Pulls the Plug on GOP Healthcare Bill

Well, guys, we’re stuck with the Affordable Care Act for at least a little while longer.

And by “at least a little while,” we mean “at least for the foreseeable future.”

At the end of last week, President Trump delivered a late-night ultimatum to House Republicans: Vote to approve their much-disputed overhaul of Obamacare on the House floor Friday or reject it so he could move on to other legislative priorities. Friday afternoon, House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the House floor before it could even be voted upon, ultimately saying, "We came up short...We are going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future."

While President Trump was quick to place the blame for the bill’s ultimate failure on lack of Democratic support, when it came down to it, House Republicans simply didn’t anticipate enough votes that would allow the bill to pass either. Freedom Caucus conservatives believed the bill kept too much of the original Affordable Care Act intact, while more moderate Republicans were admittedly worried about electoral repercussions if the millions of Americans predicted to lose health insurance when the new bill passed would have lost coverage. 

So while our esteemed government officials figure out what would make a better bill to repeal and replace the ACA, we’re left to follow the laws that are still in place. The ACA laws, that is.

And that means that you’ve got a deadline this week! Forms 1094 and 1095 that need to be sent to the IRS to report health insurance coverage offered during the 2016 tax year are due this Friday (March 31)! And remember this is the e-filing deadline, so no paper forms.

Luckily, you’ve landed at ACAwise, which is a full-service e-file provider exclusively for the ACA Forms 1094 and 1095. We’ll help you get everything together and securely e-filed, and if you’re in a real pickle, we’ll even help you e-file the automatic 30-day extension form for ACA Forms: Form 8809.

We don’t have much time, so get to filing! And if you have any questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’re available by phone (704-954-8420) and live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST. We also provide 24/7 support through email at

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Step by Step: How to E-file with ACAwise

The Affordable Care Act Form e-filing deadline is coming up! Are you ready?

It’s March 31, 2017, and if you’ve got an account with ACAwise, you’re already a step ahead of the rest! If you don’t, we’ll get you caught up. Just go to and locate the “Request DEMO” or “Sign Up” buttons. You can either schedule a demo with a member of our support team to learn the ins and outs of ACAwise or jump right in by signing up!

To sign up, you’ll indicate whether you’re an Applicable Large Employer (ALE) or third-party administrator then answer a few questions about your business and how you’ll be using ACAwise.

With ACAwise, you can opt for Year End Filing to the IRS or Year End Filing to the IRS with Cross Walk from Employee Data services. With Year End Filing to the IRS, you provide all the necessary information to e-file your ACA Forms: employer/employee data, ACA codes, and other form data. When you add in Cross Walk, all you need to provide is your employer and employee data and our ACA experts generate the codes needed to finish your forms.

And once you submit all your information, you get to sit back and relax! How many other ACA e-file providers let you do that?

While you’re relaxin’, our ACAwise and our ACA experts work to create your forms for your ACA return. You can always check back in your account to see the status of your forms, or just wait for the email we’ll send to alert you that your forms are ready for review. And once you review those forms, all that’s left to do is officially transmit them to the IRS!

See how simple? See how little you have to do? What are you waiting for? Start e-filing with ACAwise today!

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Time is Running Out to File Your ACA Forms

Despite what’s being discussed in Washington, the Affordable Care Act is still in play and that means your ACA Forms are due soon!

For the 2016 tax year, Forms 1094 and 1095, which report the health insurance coverage you offered to employees and other recipients throughout the year, are due March 31, 2017, if you’re e-filing.

Paper filers had to have their forms in by February 28, but if you’d planned to paper file and missed the deadline, you can still e-file your forms without notifying the IRS. Just make sure everything is correctly filled out and e-filed by 11:59 p.m., March 31, 2017.

If you’ve never e-filed before, the ACA Forms are a perfect place to start. Perhaps a little more complicated than they need to be, it’s helpful to have a second set of eyes going over all that data you’re inputting to complete your forms. And when you e-file with ACAwise, that second set of eyes is actually a series of error checks built into the program by a team of e-filing experts with years of experience in the online filing industry.

So not only was ACAwise built to make starting and completing your ACA Forms as easy as possible (with our bulk upload options, cloud-based e-filing, and those error checks), it also comes backed with a customer support team that’s here to help you make sure your experience is as pleasant as filing IRS documents can be!

If you need help getting started or at any point in the process, don’t hesitate to give us a call! We’re available by phone (704-954-8420) and live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST, and provide 24/7 assistance at

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What the New Healthcare Proposals Could Mean for ACA Requirements

In case you somehow missed it, the GOP released their Affordable Care Act replacement last week; and the American Health Care Act (AHCA), made up of the Ways and Means (W&M) and Energy and Commerce (E&C) bills, has caused quite the stir (to say the least).

So now that we have a replacement - or, at least, the beginnings of one - the question on everyone’s mind is just what does this mean for the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare)?

Of course, the proposal has yet to become law and it stands to reason that there will be ample amounts of time spent debating its more minute details before it officially replaces the ACA. Additionally, most of the proposed changes won’t take effect until 2018 or later so, for now, you still have to file those ACA Forms.

But just what does this new act have (or not have) that the ACA doesn’t (or did)? Well, the answer is a lot (to both questions), so we’re going to focus on how business owners and insurance providers will be affected. For how you may be effected on an individual level, read more here.

Removing Penalties Connected with the Employer Responsibility Provisions
According to this new act, the penalty for the employer responsibility provisions will be eliminated retroactively beginning with the year 2016. It’s important to note that the mandate for employer responsibility provisions won’t be eliminated, possibly because of the Byrd Rule. In other words, this new legislation won’t eliminate the ACA’s employer reporting requirements.

Repealing Actuarial Value Requirements
Under the AHCA, the ACA’s actuarial value (AV) and metal level requirements after December 31, 2019, will end so states will be allowed to permit age ratios of 5:1 for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. This means insurance providers will be able to sell plans with AVs of less than 60%, more than 90%, and anything in between. The maximum out-of-pocket limit in the ACA has been retained, however, so insurers cannot sell plans less generous than the ones currently allowed.

No Tax for Higher-Cost Employer Plans
Contrary to what an earlier, leaked version of the GOP’s health care plan said, the bills that make up the AHCA do not impose a tax on higher-cost employer-sponsored health plans. There’s also no repeal of the ACA’s enactment of the economic substance doctrine. This doctrine penalizes arrangements that only avoid taxes and serve no other business or economic purposes.

Changes to the ACA’s Premium Tax Credits
The biggest changes to the premium tax credits are for individuals, but small employers will see a change in their premium tax credits as well. As of December 31, 2019, the small employer tax credit would end. In the meantime, the interim credit could not be used for plans that cover non-excepted abortions (abortions performed for reasons other than the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother).

The AHCA’s New Tax Credits
There are a few new tax credits available to taxpayers at an individual level under the AHCA, so this means changes for employers and other insurance providers. The employer W-2 reporting requirements for coverage will still need to be modified and IRS tax information disclosure provisions would need to be amended to reflect the tax credit program changes.

To Sum Up
The ACHA’s tax cuts may appear attractive to health insurers and providers as they mean a trillion dollars in tax breaks. As it stands, however, the new legislation could thin out federal funding for (and therefore recipients of) Medicaid. It could also mean more expensive coverage for the elderly, lower-income families and individuals, and those with pre-existing conditions. In other words, it’s safe to say that there will be a lot more debating between the powers-that-be before the final version of the ACHA becomes law.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Here's How You Can Get More Time to E-file ACA Forms

Last week, we mentioned that, if you’re a business owner, you may want to look into extending the deadline for your business’s IRS information returns. You know, if you’re the type of person who likes having more time to get something important done.

Now, this week, we’re here to tell you how you can take advantage of an extension form that’ll extend the amount of time you have to e-file your Affordable Care Act Forms 1094 and 1095 with the IRS! It’s Form 8809, and if it sounds familiar that’s because this is the Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns and is used to extend the deadline for a lot of IRS forms. In fact, as a business owner, you may have even used Form 8809 before to extend the deadline for any one of these information returns:
  • -Form W-2, W-2G
  • -Form 1042-S
  • -Form 1094-C
  • -Form 1095
  • -Form 1097, 1098, 1099
  • -Form 3921, 3922
  • -Form 5498
  • -Form 8027

As you’re probably already aware, there are some serious IRS penalties that come along with submitting your ACA Forms late. So, why not get a little extra time if you can? With the ACA Forms, there’s no need to provide a reason for why you’re requesting an extension, so all you have to do is fill out some basic information on Form 8809 and submit it to the IRS before March 31 (the original ACA e-filing deadline).

Upon approval of Form 8809, you (or, technically, your EIN) will be granted an extra 30 days to file Forms 1094 and 1095. Now, that’s no 5½ to 7 months like with Form 7004, but it is plenty of time to get your e-filing completed with ACAwise while avoiding any late filing penalties.

So if you think you might be late with your IRS Form 1094 and 1095 e-filing, head on over to ExpressExtension real quick, e-file that Form 8809, then head on back to ACAwise where we’ll help you get everything in order to e-file your return!

If you have any questions in the meantime, as always, don’t hesitate to contact our customer support team. We’re happy to help and available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST, by phone at (704) 954-8420 and live chat through our website. And we also offer 24/7 assistance at!

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Business Owners: Form 7004 is Due Next Week!

Form 7004 for business tax extensions is due March 15, 2017!

If you’ve stumbled upon ACAwise because you need to e-file ACA Forms 1094 and 1095 with the IRS, chances are you either own (or know someone who owns) a business. And if you do, chances are very likely that you need to file taxes for that business. Which is why we wanted to take a break from ACA talk to tell you about Form 7004!

As a business owner, you’re probably all too aware of the business income tax deadline next week. March 15, 2017, is the last day to file your business’s income taxes for the 2016 tax year and it’s only getting closer.

BUT, if you file Form 7004, you could automatically get up to seven more months to file the information return that goes along with those taxes. Unfortunately, Form 7004 does not extend your time to pay said taxes, but at least you won’t have to worry about the paperwork for a while.

So here’s how Form 7004 works. You’ll file
  • -Form 7004, Part I for an automatic six-month extension if you own a C-Corporation with a tax year ending December 31.
  • -Form 7004, Part II for an automatic five-and-a-half-month extension if you’re the presider over certain estates and trusts.
  • -Form 7004, Part III for an automatic six-month extension if you’d normally file Part I or Part IV, but your tax year doesn’t end on December 31 or June 30. Other business owners may qualify to file Part III as well.
  • -Form 7004, Part IV for an automatic seven-month extension if you own a C-Corporation with a tax year ending June 30.

And, luckily, we know of a place where you can easily and quickly e-file Form 7004 so you can get in on those extensions: ExpressExtension! ExpressExtension was built and is run by the same people who brought you ACAwise, so you know you can trust it - it is also IRS-authorized, after all.

And if that little bit up there about which part of Form 7004 made your head spin, you won’t need to worry about that with ExpressExtension. You see, ExpressExtension breaks down Form 7004 into a simple, interview-style Q & A process. Just answer a few questions about your business and the tax forms you typically file, and ExpressExtension makes sure to fill out the appropriate sections correctly so you can e-file Form 7004 in no time. The best part? You’ll typically hear back that same day (usually within the same hour!) that your Form 7004 - and therefore, multiple-month extension - has been approved by the IRS.

So why don’t you head on over to Once you’ve created an account, it only takes a few minutes to file an extension form that could get you months of time to file your IRS forms!

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Determining Full-Time and Full-Time Equivalent Employees

Welcome back to the work week, folks! 

We’re here with some information on those Affordable Care Act forms!

As you may know, if you’re an applicable large employer (ALE), you need to offer health insurance coverage and to your full-time and full-time equivalent employees. This is a part of the ACA’s employer mandate to help ensure more US taxpayers have access to affordable health insurance.

So just a few basics about this rule before we get down to the nitty-gritty of it: ALEs are employers with fifty or more full-time employees. This total of fifty or more does include full-time equivalent employees. Additionally, the IRS considers 30 or more hours a week (or more than 130 hours per month) to be full-time. 

Among the hours included when you tally up your employee hour totals are the hours for which an employee is entitled to payment but no job duties are performed. These hours include:
  • -Vacation days
  • -Sick days
  • -Paid Family and Medical Leave of Absence (FMLA)
  • -Military leave
  • -Leave for jury duty
And before you get ahead of yourself tallying, keep in mind that these hours do not include:
  • -Hours spent volunteering
  • -Work study program or internship hours
  • -Hours spent earning foreign-sourced income

The IRS has a few standard ways you can tally up your employees’ hours, but first, there are some conditions:
  1. 1. You must stick to the method you pick for the entire year. If you decide you want to change methods, you’ll have to wait until the next year’s reporting.
  2. 2. Methods 2 and 3 (listed below) can both be used to classify your salaried employees, just make sure you keep your classifications consistent.
  3. 3. You cannot, however, use Methods 2 or 3 if the results you come up with using them understate the employee’s hours to bring them below the full-time employee hour minimum.

So now that you know just about everything about these methods, we present them to you, our dear readers, The Methods for Determining Your Full-Time Employees:
  1. 1. The Simple Method (although, maybe not if you’re working with salaried employees): Total up the actual hours of service for each employee for each month.
  2. 2. The Daily Method: Total up the number of days each month an employee did at least eight (8) hours of work.
  3. 3. The Weekly Method: Total up the number of weeks each month an employee did thirty (30) hours of work.

Once you’ve tallied your employee’s hours and know who meets the full-time employee requirements, you’ll have the employees to whom you need to offer health insurance coverage. Then all that’s left is to make the offer and report it on Form 1095-C.

And, speaking of Form 1095-C, you can e-file it right here with ACAwise! We have everything in place to make sure everything for your reporting is handled quickly, easily, and efficiently - and, of course, securely! To get started, just head on over to and sign up for an account or free demo. And don’t hesitate to give our customer support staff a call if you need anything. We’re available at (704) 954-8420 and by live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST and we provide email support 24/7 at!

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Your Employee 1095 Forms Must Be Mailed TOMORROW!

Okay, ACA filers, it’s just about that time: time to have your employee and recipient copies mailed out!

If you have to file an Affordable Care Act return to report the health insurance coverage you offered and provided throughout the year, you probably already know you need to provide individual statements to your coverage offer recipients as well.

You may also be aware that the IRS gave all ACA filers an automatic extension for the 1095 Form recipient deadline. Instead of having to mail Forms 1095-B or 1095-C out by January 31 - the actual ACA recipient form deadline - the IRS extended the deadline to March 2, 2017.

Those with a calendar handy will notice that March 2nd is tomorrow!

Now, don’t give yourself a heart attack stressing out if you’re not exactly ready for the deadline tomorrow. For one thing, your recipient forms just need to be postmarked by tomorrow. That means you have all day today and most of tomorrow to get things done if you need.

For another thing, you can get your recipient form mailing done easily and quickly, right from your own computer, without ever having to buy stamps, stuff envelopes, or spend precious time in line at the post office. All you need is ACAwise!

With your ACAwise account (which is free, by the way), you can upload all of your ACA information at once to complete all the forms in your return in no time at all! With our full-service options, once you e-file your returns, you’ll also be eligible for our postal mailing feature. That means once you transmit your return, we’ll be alerted that your recipient forms are ready to be printed mailed, so we’ll print and mail them for you!

Just make sure, if you want to have us have them out on time, to have your ACA forms ready and filed by tomorrow, March 2, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. EST. Of course, even if you file after that and have postal mailing as part of your package, we’ll still mail out your forms for you, we just want you to be aware that you may incur late-mailing penalties from the IRS (which, you really only have to worry about if an employee or recipient reports their form missing to the IRS).

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get those 1095 Forms mailed! Check out, and if you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’re available by phone (704-954-8420) and live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST. We also provide 24/7 assistance through email at!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Form 1095 Recipient Copies Due Next Week!

Alright, people, it’s time to shape up or ship out! It’s the second year of ACA e-filing and that means the IRS isn’t going as easy on us as it did last year.

(I mean, sure, they did extend the recipient filing deadline from January 31 to March 2, but now I’m just getting ahead of myself.) Back to the tough love:

Although the White House is crying “Repeal!”, they haven’t actually done that yet. That means the Affordable Care Act is still the law and that means we’re all still obligated to follow it. Because if we don’t, the IRS is obligated to give out penalties. And trust us, that’s not something we want to deal with.

So to bring us a few steps closer to our main point: you do have to file your ACA returns this year, and you do have to file them on time. No more of this “we’ll waive late filing penalties for a good excuse” leniency (although if it is, like, a really good excuse - life-or-death good - the IRS does have some options for you).

All this to say that your Form 1095 recipient copies must be completed, stamped, and mailed out by March 2, 2017, which is just a week and a day away.

This is one extension of the original deadline, as the recipient copies are typically supposed to be mailed out by January 31. But for your 2016 tax year reporting, you’ll have until March 2, 2017.

And if you haven’t started on your recipient 1095 Forms yet, might we suggest ACAwise? When you e-file with us, you have access to our postal mailing option. When you opt for postal mailing, we print your recipient copies of Form 1095 and mail them to the appropriate individuals for you.

Plus, since you have to transmit your forms for us to receive your postal mailing order, you get a step ahead of the game and have your forms e-filed with the IRS almost a full month before the e-filing deadline (which is March 31). Win-win, right?

Of course, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our all-star customer support team. We’re here to answer your questions by phone (704-954-8420) and live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST, and by email 24/7 at

Keep in mind that to ensure your forms are mailed on time, you’ll need to have your order in by 12:00 p.m. EST, March 2, 2017. Now, go get to filing!

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Monday, February 20, 2017

How You Should Sit at Your Desk & Why it Matters

There are no two ways around it: those of us in the tax and e-filing industries spend a lot of time at our desks.

Unfortunately, for some of us, this means certain specific pains and aches to deal with at the end of the day. Poor desk posture can cause lower back pain, wrist pain, neck tightness, and can even affect your ease of mobility over time.

Of course, none of us wants to deal with pain if we don’t have to, and we don’t have to: avoiding these aches and pains is as simple as sitting properly. So coming directly to you from the ergonomics experts at, here’s how you should be sitting every day for optimal well-being:

First, Your Chair
Before we even talk about looking at and handling your computer, let’s make sure your foundation (aka your chair) is nice and firm.
  • -Sit your hips as far back in the chair as they can go.
  • -Adjust your seat height. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your knees parallel with (or just slightly lower than) your hips.
  • -Adjust your seat back. Go for a reclined angle between 100-110° and make sure your upper and lower back are supported.
    • -If you need, use inflatable cushions or small pillows to get the full support your back needs.
    • -And if your chair has an active back mechanism, use that to make frequent position changes.
  • -Adjust your arm rests. They should be at a height that allows your shoulders to be relaxed. If they’re in your way, remove them.

Next, the Keyboard
Keep in mind when adjusting your keyboard setup that it should not push you too far away from the other work materials on your desk (like your phone).
  • -Pull up close to your keyboard and keep it positioned so that the section you use most is centered in front of your body.
  • -When typing, your shoulders should be relaxed, your elbows in a slightly open position, and your wrists and hands straight.
Remember that wrist rests can help maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces BUT they should not be used while typing, only to rest your palms between strokes.

And Now, Your Workspace
Believe it or not, your computer screen(s), work documents, and telephone all have specific locations for optimal posture. The main thing to remember here is to always keep your neck in a neutral, relaxed position.
  • -Center your computer screen directly in front of you (above your keyboard). Your screen should be 2-3” above seated eye level. If you wear bifocals, however, lower the screen to a more comfortable reading level.
  • -Adjust the distance between you and your screen for your vision, but make sure to always sit at least an arm’s length away.
  • -You can reduce the glare of your screen with careful positioning.
    • -Place it at a right angle to windows and adjust your blinds or curtains as needed.
    • -If you have overhead lights, adjust the vertical screen angle and screen controls to minimize glare.
  • -Position your source documents directly in front of you. If you have space, use an in-line copy stand to keep your documents between your screen and keyboard. If not, use a document holder adjacent to your screen.
  • -Your telephone should be in easy reach, using a telephone stand if necessary. Additionally, using a headset or speakerphone can help eliminate handset cradling.

But Don’t Forget
Even though you’re now sitting properly, you’ll want to make sure to move around every so often. Prolonged, static postures inhibit blood circulation, which can take a serious toll on you.
  • -Stretch for 1-2 minutes every 20 or 30 minutes. 
  • -After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for 5-10 minutes.
  • -Always leave your computer during lunch breaks (if you can).
  • -Rest and refocus your eyes periodically to avoid eye fatigue. Glance away from your monitor(s) and focus on something in the distance.
  • -You can also rest your eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds.

Be sure to stay tuned with ACAwise for more helpful office tips as well as important Affordable Care Act reporting information! And if you have any questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Leave a comment below or call, chat, or email our customer support team today!

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