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IRS lifts March 13 notice deadline for new HRA program

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The Trump administration is giving itself, and employers, more time to handle the notice requirements for the new qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement program.

Related: Feds set cash-for-premium plan rules

The Internal Revenue Service put off a key QSEHRA deadline Monday, in IRS Notice 2017-20.

President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act, the bill that created the QSEHRA program, into law Dec. 13, 2016.

The program gives a small employer a government-approved way to provide cash workers can use to buy their own individual or family major medical coverage.

Section 9831(d) of the Internal Revenue Code, the new tax law provision that governs the program, requires QSEHRA sponsors to give their workers written notices about the program by March 13.

One problem with that deadline is that the IRS has not yet told employers, or their tax or benefits advisors, what the QSEHRA written notices should look like.

The IRS now says, Notice 2017-20, that it will have guidance on the format for QSEHRA written notices ready “in the near future.”

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Once the format guidance is available, the IRS will then give a QSEHRA sponsor at least 90 days to send out the written QSEHRA notices, officials say.

“Employers that furnish the QSEHRA notice to their eligible employees before further guidance is issued may rely upon a reasonable good faith interpretation of the statute to determine the contents of the notice,” officials say.

The IRS lists Ronald Rutherford-Triche as the main author of the notice. From April 2013 through December 2014, Rutherford-Triche was director of government affairs at the Arlington, Virginia-based American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries. Rutherford-Triche went to work for the IRS in January.


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