Mark Mazur, the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, announced yesterday that the shared-responsibility penalty contained in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will not be implemented until 2015. The Journal of Accountancy released a news brief that provided some valuable information about the delay.

The announcement provides large employers one additional year to provide health coverage for full-time employees. Large employers are defined as those who employ, on average, 50 full-time employees during the calendar year. A full-time employee is defined as someone whose work hours average at least 30 hours per week in the course of a month. Prior to yesterday, large employers who did not provide health insurance coverage to full-time employees would have been subject to the shared-responsibility penalty in 2014.

Mazur noted that the Treasury plans to publish proposed regulations for implementing Sec. 6055 and Sec. 6056 in the near future. Sec. 6055 governs information-reporting requirements for insurers, self-insuring employers, and other parties while Section 6056 contains the information-reporting requirements needed for employers who furnish health insurance for their employees.

As Mazur explained, the 2015 effective date of the proposed regulations governing Sec. 6055 and 6056 would have made it challenging to conclude which employers were subject to the shared-responsibility penalty contained in Sec. 4980H. So a year’s delay in implementing the penalty was needed. This postponement will not prevent an individual from taking advantage of premium tax credits under Sec. 36B. Official guidance regarding this delay is expected to be released sometime during the next week.