Experts say it is a matter of ‘when’ you will get caught – not ‘if’ you will get caught

KNOXVILLE, TENN. – July 15, 2021 – Since January, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has stepped up issuing fines to businesses found to be noncompliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After being upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court three times, the Affordable Care Act appears here to stay – and there is no statute of limitations for ACA penalties.

For business owners, this means ACA noncompliance penalties for any year dating back to 2015 (the year ACA Employer Mandate reporting requirements went into effect) can be issued by the IRS at any time. During the first half of this year, most businesses that were penalized were not penalized for noncompliance last year, but for noncompliance the IRS discovered from 2018.

“Affordable Care Act compliance needs to be a top priority for every business in the United States,” said Mike Martens, President and CEO of First Staff benefits. “Unfortunately, many businesses think it doesn’t apply to them. That all changes quickly when they get a penalty letter from the IRS. We know of companies that are literally going out of business because of this.”

Michael R. Martens, CBC, LPRT
First Staff Benefits

If companies fail to pay the ACA penalty assessment, the IRS issues a levy or lien against the business and/or its assets and property.

“This is a serious risk for smaller and mid-size businesses,” Martens explained. “They honestly believe it doesn’t apply to them because they have fewer than 50 full-time employees – but the ACA requirements formula isn’t that simple and takes into account the number of part-time employees and full-time equivalent employees. Compliance requirements are really driven by total paid hours. This is a critical and costly mistake for many business owners.”

In addition to being upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court for the third time, several factors indicate the IRS is coming for businesses that fail to comply with ACA requirements. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has recently recommended the IRS improve its process for identifying noncompliance and begin issuing penalties to employers not just for noncompliance, but for those who did comply but failed to report correctly. President Biden has also requested additional funding to provide the IRS with more resources and tools for identifying ACA noncompliance.

“It’s no longer an issue of ‘will’ you and your company get caught for noncompliance – it is a matter of ‘when’ you will get caught,” Martens said. “It is complex legislation and reporting requirements change regularly. It is not difficult for companies to comply, but it is nearly impossible for them to comply on their own.”

First Staff Benefits was the first company in the United States solely dedicated to ACA compliance. Founded in 2007, the company has remained singularly focused on helping companies and insurance providers remain fully ACA compliant.

For more information, visit