How Do Non-Calendar Year Plans Report Under 6055 and 6056?
I asked myself this question many times and it took me quite some time to find the answer. The regulations on the new 6055 and 6056 rules make it very clear that even non-calendar year plans must begin reporting for the period beginning on January 1, 2015. The 6056 report requires a large employer to report each of its full-time employees for every month in the calendar year. A large employer will use the same determination of who is full-time that it uses for purposes of determining who is full-time for the mandate. So the issue for non-calendar year plans is that if they use a look-back measurement period, they will still be in the middle of their first measurement period for the early months of 2015. For example, a plan with a July 1st plan year may have a normal measurement period of 4/15/14 to 4/14/15. Therefore, the employer won’t know who is considered full-time for some time after 4/14/15.
I scoured the reporting regulations and the preamble and couldn’t find an answer as to what non-calendar year plans were to do. While I was reviewing the preamble to the pay or play mandate regulations, I stumbled upon the answer. In the preamble to the pay or play regulations, it states that for purposes of the 6056 reporting requirements for the period beginning before the plan is subject to the mandate, the employer may determine full-time employees by using actual service data or using a look-back measurement period that ends after the applicable month. So the employer in my example could choose to use actual hours to report who is full-time for 1/1/15-6/30/15 or it could designate those individuals as full-time who end up being full-time once the measurement period ends on 4/14/15. Problem solved.