While users of QuickBooks, especially those using Intuit Payroll-related subscriptions, might have hoped for a ‘built-in’ solution in the form of special reports, or even ‘form compliance’ (as with W-2 and 1099s) when it comes to meeting the reporting provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (sometimes just referred to as the ‘Affordable Care Act) but perhaps better known as ‘ObamaCare’, Intuit has made it clear that they will not be providing any such reporting or forms compliance. As such it boils down to employers meeting the mandated reporting definition (50 employees plus) to either figure out how to prepare the forms on their own, hire a 3rd party company to prepare the forms for them, or turn to some 3rd-party software solution. The problem is that all 3 alternatives are either very time consuming, and or very expensive, at least until now.
Recently a new 3rd party software developer has released a reporting solution that works with QuickBooks (Desktop). QB1095 is designed to allow small to medium-sized businesses manage their Affordable Care Act compliance process. QB1095 can use your existing employee data from Intuit QuickBooks (Desktop) or an Excel file to pre-populate the fields in the 1094-C and 1095-C required under by the Internal Revenue Service under ‘ObamaCare.’.
QB1095 is an on-line, SAAS, solution that works with QuickBooks (desktop) applications via the Web-connector. Registration to use QB1095 is free, the charges come at the end when you are read to file (via paper or electronically). Once you are registered you can sync your QuickBooks (Desktop) data and then follow the steps in the compliance process ultimately allowing you to generate the required 1094/1095 forms. Previews of these forms allow you to see the results of the QB1095 process. When you are ready to file, you enter your payment information, and then have the option of ‘printed’ or ‘electronic’ filing.
Pricing seems reasonable, at $5.00 per employee, and $100 for electronic filing. So if you are an employer meeting the ‘minimum’ filing requirement of 50 employees, you could file by paper for as little as $250.00, or electronically for $350.00. When you compare that to the cost of most 3rd party services offering Affordable Care Act compliance documentation you thousands of dollars1.
QB1095 is also in the process of configuring a ‘partner program’ for people like accountants, bookkeepers, or ProAdvisors who intend to furnish the service to their clients. At the time of this printing the details of what alternative pricing, discounts, or other ‘consideration’ that might be associated with the partner program were not available.
The following is intended to serve as an ‘overview’ of the process, it is not intended to be a step-by-step instruction manual on the product. Getting started was simple, from the QB1095 Website log-in page simply click the option to ‘Register’ and the registration window opens, as seen on the left side of the illustration below. (If you have previously registered, you can log-in from this same site, as seen on the right side of the illustration below.)
Take note of the fact that QB1095 is built on top of the Microsoft Azure platform as part of the Microsoft BizSpark program, one of the most stable and secure web services available.
QB1095 uses the QuickBooks ‘web-connector’ to sync with your QuickBooks (Desktop) software, it isn’t reliant upon ‘Sync Manager’.
When you connect to QuickBooks the first time, and install the Web-connector, you will be prompted to sync your QuickBooks data with QB1095. Your employee information and company data will be imported into QB1095. This is basic employee and company information, it is NOT inclusive of payroll data that might be indicative of hours worked, etc.
The illustration above outlines the additional steps you must take to generate compliant documentation. If you thought this software was going to ‘automatically’ do all the work for you, I am sorry to disappoint you. In reality this software provides you a way to enter necessary information to meet the reporting requirements, (or optionally import compliance information using an Excel Template that QB1095 offers). It does however prevent you from having to ‘key-in’ the kinds of information that can be obtained from ‘accessible’ QuickBooks data (like basic employee data) as we will see.
In our import example, you can see the results (below) of importation of the employees in our QuickBooks Company file. QB1095 advises us of the specific employees imported, but it also lets us know that we still need to provide details about each of those employees. You will note however that some of this required ‘employee’ will come from company information needing input.
Below is an example of some of that ‘company data’ that relates to your employee.
You will also need to provide details concerning the employee’s insurance coverage, as shown in the figure below.
Several additional screens of information (similar to the one shown below) are designed to guide you through the process of providing all the required reporting information.
Once you have completed all of the necessary information for all of your employees you will reach the ‘Results’ page (as seen below). Here you can download samples of Form 1094-C and 1095-C to review.
The sample pages (shown below) contain watermarks indicating that they are review copies not for filing. You don’t have the option to print these forms without the watermarks until you have provided ‘payment information’.
The IRS has indicated that they will give reporting parties ‘a break’ if they fail to properly remit the appropriate information, if they make a ‘good faith effort’ to do so in a timely manner. QB1095 is even designed to help document your ‘good faith effort’, QB1095 issues you a certificate of good faith once you have successfully completed the steps in QB1095 process.
After you have reviewed and confirmed your data on the sample forms, and made an changes/corrections that are appropriate you are ready to enter your ‘payment information’ and proceed with filing. As I mentioned earlier with QB1095 you can file your returns on paper or you can file electronically for a one time flat fee. Companies with more than 250+ must file electronically with the IRS. It’s only one click to file one the IRS has opened the filing portal after January 1, 2016.
Excel Import of Data (Optional)
If you don’t use QuickBooks, or even if you do import your basic QuickBooks data but you don’t want to spend the time to go through the various screens entering all the related details, you can download the QB1095 Microsoft Excel template.
Enter your company and employee data into this template and then upload the template into QB1095. QB1095 verifies your data and prompts you for any missing information. Once you are complete, you have the same options to review and print sample filing forms, and then file (by paper or electronically) once you have entered your payment information.
QB1095 appears to provide a secure, simple way to comply with the IRS reporting requirements for ObamaCare, at least for employers required to report for the year ending 2015. The cost seems reasonable (to me) in light of other options out there. Will future alternatives to QB1095 be available in future years, probably, who knows Intuit might finally decide they have a responsibility to their QuickBooks users, especially their Intuit Payroll Service users, to provide forms compliance reporting, it just won't happy in time for the filings due in early 2016.