Back to top


Click here to go back

Volume 31; What the 21st Century Cures Act Is All About

Posted by Admin Posted on June 07 2017



Written by: Shari McVey

On December 13, President Obama signed into law the "21st Century Cures Act". In addition to providing a medical innovation package that funds medical research, accelerates cutting-edge treatments for rare diseases, and makes significant reforms to the mental health system, the act also allows small employers to provide Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to their employees without facing penalties for failing to satisfy certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements. Here we will explore what effects that will have on small business HRAs:

Small Employer HRAs Exempted from Group Health Plan Requirements

HRAs are arrangements under which an employer agrees to reimburse medical expenses (including health insurance premiums) up to a certain amount per year, with unused amounts available to reimburse medical expenses in future years. The reimbursement is excludable from the employee's income.

HRAs generally are considered to be group health plans under provisions of which were incorporated into the ACA code.

Under the new 21st Century Cures Act, a "qualified small employer HRA" is not treated as a group health plan for income tax purposes. A qualified small employer HRA would meet the following requirements: 

  • The employer employs fewer than 50 employees - and does not offer a group health plan to any of its employees
  • The HRA is provided on the same terms to all eligible employees. (Employees may be excluded under these criterions: employees who haven't completed 90 days of service, employees who haven't attained age 25, part-time or seasonal workers, employees covered in a collective bargaining unit, and certain nonresident aliens.)
  • The HRA is funded solely by an eligible employer, and no salary reduction contributions may be made under the HRA.
  • The HRA provides, after the employee provides proof of coverage, for the payment of, or reimbursement of, expenses for medical care incurred by the eligible employee or the employee's family members
  • The amount of payments and reimbursements do not exceed $4,950 ($10,000 in the case of an arrangement that also provides for payments or reimbursements for family members of the employee). For any year beginning after 2016, the above dollar amounts are subject to cost of living increases. For employees who are covered by a qualified arrangement for less than an entire year, the above dollar amounts are prorated.

The exemption of small employer HRAs from the group health plan requirements is generally effective for years beginning after Dec. 31, 2016.

Small Employer HRA Reporting & Notice Requirements

A small employer funding a qualified HRA for any year must, not later than 90 days before the beginning of the year (in the case of an employee who is not eligible to participate in the arrangement as of the beginning of such year, the date on which the employee is first eligible), provide a written notice to each eligible employee which includes: 

  • a statement of the amount of the employee's permitted benefit under the arrangement for the year
  • a statement that the eligible employee should provide the information described in the clause to any health insurance exchange to which the employee applies for advance payment of the premium assistance tax credit 
  • a statement that if the employee is not covered under minimum essential coverage for any month, the employee may be subject to tax for such month, and reimbursements under the arrangement may be includible in gross income. 

Employers also have to report the total amount of permitted benefit for the year under a qualified arrangement on their employees' W-2s.

If an employer fails to provide the required notice (unless the failure is shown to be due to a reasonable cause) the employer will be subject to a $50 per-employee, per-incident-of-failure penalty, subject to a $2,500 calendar year maximum.

The notice and reporting requirements are effective for years beginning after Dec. 31, 2016 



We want to remind you of important tax due dates and deadlines that are just around the corner. In addition to these dates please keep in mind that information provided to our firm for 1040 preparation on or after March 24th will receive an extension.

Here is a recap of important dates to keep in mind as 2017 progresses:

  • January 17, 2017 - 2016 4th quarter estimate payment
  • January 31, 2017 - All information forms (W2/1099) are due to recipients and must be filed with the government
  • March 15, 2017 - Form 1065 and 1120-S
  • April 18, 2017 - Form 1040, 1041, and 1120, unless extended 
  • April 18, 2017 - 2017 1st quarter estimate payment 
  • June 15, 2017 - 2017 2nd quarter estimate payment
  • September 15, 2017 - 2017 3rd quarter estimate payment 
  • September 15, 2017 - Form 1120, 1120-S and 1065, if extended 
  • September 30, 2017 - Form 1041, if extended 
  • October 16, 2017 - Form 1040, if extended 
  • January 16, 2018 - 2017 4th quarter estimate payment    
Please note there has been a correction issued to the article How Trump's Tax Proposals May Effect You that was published in Volume 30 of the Becker and Rosen Newsletter. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have. The graph below reflects the correct filing status dollar amounts for Trump's Proposal in regard to long term capital gain and qualified dividend brackets (The corrections are italicized):


LT Cap Gain and Qualified
Dividend Brackets

Filing Status Single:
0% ($0 - $37,650)
15% ($37,650 - $415,050)
20% ($415,050 +)

Filing Status MFJ:
0% ($0 - $75,300)
15% ($75,300 - $466,950)
20% ($466,950 +)


Filing Status Single:
0% ($0 - $37,500)
15% ($37,500 - $112,500)
20% ($112,500 +)

Filing Status MFJ:
0% ($0 - $75,00)
15% ($75,000 - $225,000)
20% ($225,000 +) 




Visit our website. Explore all the new features at and don't forget to like us on Facebook and LinkedIn to keep up with all the latest tax news.

Becker and Rosen CPAs, LLC Disclaimer

This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions. 

Links to Third Party Websites
For your convenience, this newsletter may contain hyperlinks to websites and servers maintained by third parties. We do not control, evaluate, endorse or guarantee content found in those sites. We do not assume any responsibility or liability for the actions, products, services and content of these sites or the parties that operate them. Your use of such sites is entirely at your own risk.