IRS Interpretations Further Complicate Obamacare Employer Mandate

Well, of course. It's the IRS.


As written, the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act — what the law calls "shared responsibility" — is complicated enough. Just to understand how the penalty applies practically requires a flow chart. But as the Internal Revenue Service has tried to interpret the mandate, the agency and the businesses and employees affected by the mandate are discovering that it is even more challenging than it reads. In some cases, the agency has resolved some of the confusion. But in others, the answers it has come up with have raised still more questions.

The Obama administration this month announced that it was pushing back enforcement of the mandate for a year, to give the I.R.S. time to write the rules on the law's reporting requirements for businesses. But some people hoping to influence the regulations would like to see the agency reconsider some of the other regulations for the mandate it had already proposed. (Others, as we reported earlier, would like to see Congress rewrite the terms of the mandate.)