W-2 reporting of health costs optional for 2011

The IRS and the Treasury are giving employers additional time to adjust payroll systems and procedures to meet the requirement to include the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on employees’ W-2 forms. This reporting requirement was mandated in the 2010 health care reform legislation and was scheduled to take effect with the issuance of W-2 forms for 2011.

Reporting the cost of coverage will be optional for Forms W-2 issued for 2011. Employers who fail to report the cost of health coverage for their employees will not be subject to penalties. The IRS notice included a reminder that the reporting requirement is for informational purposes only. The amount reported on an employee’s W-2 is not taxable income to the employee.

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