The IRS will require employers who terminate employees to show that they did so for “bona fide business reasons” in order to be eligible for delaying the ObamaCare health insurance employer mandate.

Under new guidelines announced on February 10, the IRS will delay the mandate until 2016 for medium-sized businesses employing between 50 and 99 people. Businesses with 49 employees or fewer are not required to provide their employees with health insurance coverage under ObamaCare, as the Affordable Care Act is generally called.

The phasing-in of the employer mandate is designed to make “the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate,” said Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur.

The Treasury Department/IRS document outlining the regulations first states:

An applicable large employer [more than 100 employees] that, for a calendar month, fails to offer to its full-time employees health coverage that is affordable and provides minimum value may be subject to an assessable payment if a full-time employee enrolls for that month in a qualified health plan for which the employee receives a premium tax credit.

As might be expected, some employers who are slightly above the 100-employee limit might trim their staffs a bit to qualify for the delayed mandate. Obviously, since a company cannot function with an inadequate workforce, it will cut staff only if it makes good business sense to do so — regardless of the ObamaCare regulations. Some companies may very well have been considering making cuts anyway, and the government regulations would merely provide more incentive to do what was needed. But the IRS does not see things this way.

In a show of bureaucratic magnanimity, “to assist these employers in transitioning into compliance,” the IRS has provided “transition relief” for employers who have an average of at least 50 but fewer than 100 full-time employees during 2014.

 

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