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Affordable Care Act Information Returns (AIR) Program

Affordable Care Act (ACA) information returns and transmittals are electronically filed through the ACA Information Return system, also known as AIR. 

AIR System Status
  Production AATS (test)
System Status Operational Operational
Tax Years Available 2015 and 2016 2015 and 2016

Scheduled Maintenance Build:   A routine maintenance build is scheduled every Sunday. The system will be unavailable from 12:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

 

The AIR System will be offline for scheduled maintenance during the following time periods:

 

•  May 26, 2017 starting at 5:00 p.m. Eastern through 8:00 a.m. Eastern on May 30, 2017.
•  June 10, 2017 starting at 8:00 a.m. Eastern through 7:59 a.m. Eastern on June 11, 2017.

 

Critical system updates will be deployed during these outages to both the AATS and Production environments. Please refrain from accessing the AIR System for both the A2A and UI Channels during these time periods

Latest Updates:

3/28/2017: Due to high volume you may receive the message "Receipt ID not found" even though a Receipt ID was provided to you. If this occurs, please wait 24 hours and recheck the status.  If the status has not changed, please contact the help desk at 866-937-4130.

3/27/2017: An internal error occurred March 25 – 26, 2017, which may have caused your transmission to be rejected erroneously.  If you received “An unexpected error occurred", please resubmit this transmission using the following instructions:

Resubmit the transmissions with the following in the Manifest:

  • New ACA Business Correlation ID (UniqueTransmissionID)
  • New DocumentSystemFileNm
  • Same Checksum (ChecksumAugmentationNum)
  • Same Transmission Type Code (TransmissionTypeCd) "O" (Original).

If you continue to have issues please contact the Help Desk (866-937-4130).

1/17/2017: Which WSDL packages do I use?

  • Use the AATS WSDL Package titled "FS17-TY16 AATS V1 use Jan 2017 Package."
  • Use the Production WSDL Package titled "FS17-TY16 Production WSDL Package."

12/19/2016: To generate tax year 2016 returns use:

  • Manifest file from tax year 2016 schema package
  • Form data file from tax year 2016 schema package
  • PaymentYr value “2016”
  • PriorYearDataInd value “0”
  • Software Id for 2016 (2016 software Ids start with 16XXXXXXXX)

See the Year 2015 Information page for how to generate tax year 2015 forms.

Program Overview

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies, self-insured companies, and large businesses and businesses that provide health insurance to their employees must submit information returns to the IRS reporting on individual’s health insurance coverage.  

Other non-ACA information returns, such as Forms 1099, can be electronically transmitted through the Filing Information Returns Electronically system, also known as FIRE.  The AIR system has different requirements than FIRE.You must follow the AIR procedures explained on this page even if you have previously used FIRE.

ACA information returns include:  

  • Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns
  • Form 1095-B, Health Coverage
  • Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns
  • Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage

Anyone required to file 250 or more information returns, must file them electronically. This requirement applies separately for each type of return and separately to each type of corrected return. All filers are encouraged to electronically file even if you have less than 250 returns.


Here’s what you need to know to get started with AIR:

In general, if you are a software developer, transmitter, or issuer required to file 250 or more returns or want to file electronically, you will need to register with e-Services and get a Transmitter Control Code (TCC). 

  • Software Developer: An organization writing either origination or transmission software according to IRS specifications.
  • Transmitter: A third-party sending the electronic information returns data directly to IRS on behalf of any business.
    • Note: If you are transmitting returns for your own company in addition to transmitting returns on behalf of another business, you do not need both the Transmitter and Issuer role. You can file all returns as a Transmitter.
  • Issuer: A business filing their own ACA Information Returns
    • Note: If you are an issuer using a third party to transmit your returns (that is, you are not transmitting information returns directly to the IRS), you should not apply for a TCC and do not need to follow the steps below.

If any of the following apply, you will need to complete the steps below.  

  • Software developer who will develop software for use in creating electronic files for ACA Information Returns.
  • Transmitters who will transmit information returns to the IRS.
  • Issuers who will transmit information returns directly to the IRS.

Step 1: Register to use IRS e-Services Tools

Before using any IRS e-Services tools - including the AIR system - all responsible officials and contacts in the business or organization must complete the e-Services Registration. To complete the registration process, you must log back into the e-Services web site within 28 days of your registration to enter your confirmation code you receive via U.S. Postal Mail. Responsible Officials and Contacts must register through e-Services before you can apply for your TCC.

Step 2: Apply for your Information Return Transmitter Control Code - TCC

In addition to registering for IRS e-Services tools, software developers, transmitters, and issuers must also have a TCC to electronically file AIR Forms 1094/1095-B and 1094/1095-C. After you register with e-services and complete the confirmation process, you will have access to the ACA Application for TCC.  

You must complete the application and the Responsible Officials must sign the terms of agreement with the PIN they created during the registration process. When the application is in completed status, the Transmitter Control Code(s) will be visible online and will be mailed to you via U.S. Postal mail.

Each role selected on the application - software developer, transmitter, and issuer - results in a separate TCC. When conducting software testing with the IRS, use the software developer TCC, if you are transmitting information returns you will use the transmitter or issuer TCC.

Learn More about Step 2:

The Tutorial for Affordable Care Act Application for TCC (November 2016) provides step-by-step instructions for applying for an AIR TCC.

Step 3: Test Communication with AIR System

Software developers, transmitters, and issuers must pass all applicable test scenarios. This will help ensure you can communicate with the IRS before you submit information returns through the AIR system.

  • Software Developers are required to annually pass Affordable Care Act Assurance Testing System (AATS) testing to transmit information returns to the IRS. You will need a new Software ID for each tax year and each ACA Information Return package they support.
  • Transmitters and Issuers must use approved software to perform the communications test. You are only required to successfully complete the communication test once.

Information for Tax Year 2016:

  • AIR TCCs for Transmitters and Issuers that are in Production status will remain in Production status. No additional testing is needed for Tax Year 2016.
  • Software Developers who passed testing for Tax Year 2015 do not need to test for Tax Year 2016
    • You will still need to update your AIR TCC application with the Tax Year 2016 software information
    • Updating the software information will require the Responsible Officials to sign the AIR TCC application again
    • During the time after you add the 2016 software information to the AIR TCC application and before the Responsible Officials sign the AIR TCC application, filers will receive a reject indicating the software ID is not valid. Please make sure you coordinate updating the AIR TCC application with the Tax Year 2016 information and having it signed at the same time.

Learn More about Step 3:

Publication 5164, Test Package for Electronic Filers of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns (AIR), contains general and program specific testing information for use with AATS.

Affordable Care Act Information Returns (AIR) Assurance Testing System (AATS) page for testing information, including test scenarios.

Step 4: Electronically Filing through AIR

Transmissions to AIR must be comprised of only one type of ACA information return and you must include the appropriate transmittal form. For example, a transmission must only contain:

  • Forms 1095-B and Form 1094-B or  
  • Forms 1095-C and Form 1094-C

The form types cannot be combined. Additionally, original and corrected forms cannot be combined in the same transmission file.  

AIR will process each submission and provide a status with detailed acknowledgement for the transmitter. Issuers should retain a copy of information returns for at least three years from the reporting due date.

The links for uploading files to the UI channel are:

AIR UI Channel Login - AATS (Testing)

AIR UI Channel Login - Production

The individual logging in must be listed as a Contact or Responsible Official on the AIR TCC Application. 

Learn More about Step 4:

Publication 5165, Guide for Filing Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns for Software Developers and Transmitters, outlines the communication procedures, transmission formats, business rules and validation procedures.

Publication 5258, AIR Submission Composition and Reference Guide (October 2016) provides guidance about composing and successfully transmitting submissions to IRS.

Automated Enrollment for ACA Providers Externals Guide for ISS-A2A channel provides step by step instructions for loading certificates needed for A2A transmissions.

Additional Resources:

Affordable Care Act Information Returns (AIR) Program Overview page includes monthly working group meeting presentations.

Affordable Care Act Information Returns (AIR) Schemas and Business Rules for Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C. 

You can submit questions to the AIR Mailbox regarding electronic filing of Forms 1094-B, 1094-C, 1095-B and 1095-C.

AIR uses QuickAlerts, an IRS e-mail service, to disseminate information quickly to subscribers. Keep up to date on the latest events for the Affordable Care Act Information Return (AIR) electronic filing program by subscribing to QuickAlerts and choosing the Affordable Care Act Information Return (AIR) category.

 

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 25-May-2017