As much as we all enjoy reading about developing the soft skills and the exciting new human resources technologies coming out, being in this business still means hitting your HR deadlines. Fire up your Outlook calendar and wipe off that white board — here are some of the critical HR deadlines coming up over the next four months:
September 30th – Your Summary Annual Report documents for last year is due out to your plan participants and beneficiaries, assuming your deadline for Form 5500 was not extended. Which means it should be in your hands for distribution shortly before that, unless you have it outsourced. Even then, contact your vendors and ensure that they are on track to meet this critical HR deadline. (Extended deadline is December 1, noted below).
October 12th – Applicable large employers (ALEs) must complete their first annual solicitation of employees by the end of the day. This applies to any ALEs missing any employee Social Security numbers on their 2015 ALE reporting under the Affordable Care Act.
October 15th – The last day for adopting retroactive amendments correcting a non-discrimination failure for 2015 under IRC Section 410(b) or IRC Section 401(a)(4). Medicare Part D reporting due. Also, required creditable coverage disclosure notices must go out to Medicare-eligible participants if the employer provides prescription drug coverage.
November 1st – Affordable Care Act open enrollment begins.
November 14th – The deadline for 4th quarter individual benefit statements for participants in participant-directed plans. The quarterly disclosure is also due at this time, under the participant fee disclosure rule.
November 15th – This is the deadline for submitting your Transitional Reinsurance Program form. You must also selected a payment schedule. If you chose to pay your Transitional Reinsurance Fee in two installments, November 15th is the due date for the 2nd payment. Here is a link containing detailed instructions for paying this tax.
October 15th – Deadline for providing the Medicare Notice of Creditable Coverage to anyone receiving coverage and who is eligible for Medicare. Model documents from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are available at the link.
October 17th – The extended deadline for filing Form 5500. It’s also the extended tax return filing deadline for unincorporated businesses, and final contribution deadline for deductibility for these businesses.
December 1st – This is the last day for sending your annual 401(k) and 401(m) safe harbor notices. It’s also the deadline for sending out notices of annual automatic contribution arrangements and qualified default investment alternatives (QDIAs).
December 15th – Extended deadline for Summary Annual Report distribution to plan participants.
It’s also the deadline for all individuals to be enrolled in Marketplace or Exchange rate coverage to be effective by 1 January 2017. Otherwise, existing coverage will end on December 31st, and there could be a gap in coverage.
December 31st – There are several important items that must be completed by the last calendar day of the year:
- The deadline for correcting failed 2015 Actual Deferral Percentage/Actual Contribution Percentage (ADP/ACP) tests with qualified non-elective contributions (QNECs).
- It’s the last day for amending your plan to remove safe harbor status for the following plan year.
- It’s the last day for processing any corrective distributions for failed ADP/ACP tests for 2015 with a 10 percent excise tax.
- Required minimum distributions (RMDs) under IRC Section 401(a)(9), are due. That is, you must ensure that all participants receive their RMDs by year-end.
- It’s the deadline for filing an amendment to convert an existing 401(k) plan to safe harbor design for the 2017 plan year.
- It’s the deadline for amending your plan to account for discretionary changes implemented during the plan year, with a few exceptions. Contact your employee benefits consultant for more details if you have made discretionary changes to the plan.
- Any discretionary amendments made to your plan documents during the year must be adopted by December 31st.
- Plan administrators must provide the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) notices. Model notices and supporting documents are available at the links.
2017 HR DEADLINES
January 1st, 2017 – Make sure you sober up in time to ensure compliance with Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. This is your final deadline to ensure that any health plans or wellness programs who receive federal financial assistance to fund them are free of any unlawful discrimination. Most of us are already familiar with the requirement under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to ensure your plans don’t discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age or disability. But this year, the Department of Labor has put employers on notice that it will be paying special attention to possible incidences of discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, sex stereotyping and gender identity.
If you have anyone for whom English is a second language – or is not a language they speak, read or write at all – Section 1557 requires covered entities to provide translation or language assistance.
January 31st, 2017 – This is the deadline for reporting non-discrimination testing census data to your third-party administrator (TPA) or your in-house record-keeper, as applicable.
Additionally, all ALEs must provide full-time employees with an IRS Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, by this date. So give yourselves and your financial departments some time to comply with these important HR deadlines.