COBRA subsidy details: Notification deadline approaching

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law in March, employers can receive a 100% subsidy for extended COBRA coverage for employees who were terminated or who lost coverage because their hours were involuntarily reduced or they were involuntarily terminated, making them eligible for COBRA.

While employers must bear the cost of the extended coverage up front, employers will be reimbursed for premiums through a payroll tax credit or a refundable credit if the premiums are greater than the payroll tax obligation.

Here are a few things to know:

The temporary COBRA continuation coverage paid by employers goes into effect April 1, 2021, and extends through September 30, 2021. An eligible employee is one who:

  • Is enrolled in COBRA as of April 1, 2021;
  • Became eligible for COBRA between April 1 and September 30, 2021; or
  • Would have still been eligible for COBRA on April 1, 2021, but either did not elect coverage or dropped coverage.
  • Who would qualify for the premium subsidy and are either:
    1. Still within their 18-month COBRA coverage period but declined COBRA coverage; or
    2. Dropped COBRA coverage before the maximum coverage period expired. A special election period would be available for these qualified beneficiaries.

Employers have a responsibility to notify eligible employees about the parameters of the temporary continuation coverage. They must:

  • Identify former covered employees and qualified beneficiaries who may be eligible. This would include any employee who had an involuntary termination of employment or hours reduction between November 1, 2019, through March 31, 2021. This also includes any employees issued new notices of termination beginning April 1, 2021.
  • Send an initial notice to covered employees and qualified employees – even if in some cases they are not eligible for the subsidy – by May 31, 2021.
  • Notify those employees whose COBRA coverage continues through or beyond September 30, 2021, that the COBRA subsidy is coming to an end. This notice must be made between 45 and 15 days of the end of the subsidy period.

Notice of the subsidy can be handled via the employer’s COBRA plan administrator/insurance carrier. Employers will need to work with their COBRA carriers to identify the qualified employees to submit notices and to invoice the employer for these COBRA premiums.

The employee should not pay any of the COBRA continuation premiums during this period. If an employee does make a premium payment during the subsidy period, the employer must reimburse the employee for those payments.

The employer will recover premiums either through a payroll tax credit or a refundable credit if the premiums are greater than the payroll tax obligation. The reimbursement to the employer for these costs will be via Form 941 Quarterly Payroll Returns. Further guidance and forms similar to what employers used to recover paid leave costs under the FFCRA are expected to be forthcoming.

Nina M. Daigle, CPA, is a partner with Antares Group, Inc. She can be reached at ndaigle@antarescpas.com.

Recent Articles:

Follow Antares CPAs:

Succession & Transition Strategies

Creating a successful succession plan is about protecting the future of a business and/or brand and ensuring there is a strategy in place to ensure your business continues to thrive.

After years of investing time, money and other resources, it’s imperative to prepare for this next stage in business and life. Poor planning can increase risks for stakeholders and tarnish legacies. Let’s make sure the next generation is well-equipped and ready to take your life’s work and family legacy to an even greater level of success.

Each situation is unique because the needs of each one involved are unique. We carefully review each opportunity to determine how best to structure a transition while meeting your goals, complying with any brand licensing polices and minimizing the tax implications of the transfer.

  • Next generation succession planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Wealth management

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com

Technology Services

Antares Group’s technology team provides convenient hardware and software support, along with comprehensive cloud accounting services with 24/7 access to up-to-date financial information exactly the way you want it, on any connected device, with a customizable dashboard interface. We use best-in class cloud accounting platforms and software including Sage Intacct, Bill.com and robot process automation (RPA) with integration capabilities with some of the leading point-of-sale, payroll, and business operations management software programs.

Cloud accounting is just the beginning; Antares Group’s experienced technology team also performs system evaluations and makes recommendations for products and services that will help your business run more efficiently, as well as protecting your information and infrastructure with robust security options. Using the right technology for automation will simplify your life and keep your valuable data safe..

  • Technology and security optimization
  • Complete cloud accounting services
  • Computer troubleshooting assistance with remote and onsite repair

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com

Business Planning & Valuation

An accurate understanding of your company’s current value and financial viability is vital for achieving business success and the launch pad to boundless possibilities in the years to come. Realistic valuations are essential for long-term strategic plans, business successions and expansions, gift and estate planning, and a lucrative retirement package. Planning for where you want to go in the future is what our business and tax advisors do best. Whatever your goals, we are here to provide you with the right plan and insightful guidance to achieve it.

  • Trend reporting and analysis and business valuation
  • General business and start-up consulting
  • Major reinvestment planning
  • Cash flow projections

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com

Back Office Solutions

In such a fast-moving business environment, business owners need every advantage to succeed. Improving efficiency should be an ongoing part of your strategy for financial success, empowering you to make continuous improvements.

Whether your business is a single location seeking to grow effectively and sustainably, an established franchise brand adding new locations, or something in between, Antares Group provides a suite of back office services and the financial expertise to help business owners and managers achieve their operational and financial goals. In the process of supporting your essential back office operations with practical solutions, we analyze the function and effectiveness, looking for inefficiencies and potential liabilities, offering valuable insights for owners and managers.

  • Daily deposit verification and online banking monitoring
  • Process invoices and code general ledger accounts
  • Process vendor payments and file 1099s
  • Prepare and file sales and use tax returns
  • Reconcile bank, credit card and cashless sales accounts

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com

Tax Advisory

Minimizing your tax burden is a year-round strategy; planning for and preparing complex business and individual tax returns is where Antares Group excels. Beyond simply helping you fulfill basic tax obligations, you can rely on our tax advisory team to keep you informed of ever-changing regulations and keep you in compliance. We conduct regular reviews to make sure all methods of reducing your tax liabilities are being used. We routinely assess your personal income tax situation and cash flow to guard against the unexpected. This ongoing strategic analysis empowers you to maximize tax savings and capitalize on new opportunities.

In addition, we provide advisory services for new business startups, acquisitions, and dispositions. Through careful analysis, we help clients determine the best structure and make the process as seamless as possible.

  • Business and individual year-end tax returns
  • Personal property, gift, and trust income tax returns
  • Fixed asset setup and maintenance
  • Annual tax planning and preparation

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com

Cloud Accounting

Whether you run a small closely held business or a large franchise operation, maintaining a firm grasp of accounting and bookkeeping can be challenging. Between managing staff and overseeing daily operations, there is not enough time to dig into the books and make sense of the financials. You need to know the facts and the implications. – having precise, up-to-date information at hand means you always know your financial position so you can make informed decisions that keep your business moving forward.

The financial experts at Antares can create a custom menu of accounting and tax services perfectly catered to your business needs, including accurate and timely financial statements and reports, so you are always prepared to respond quickly to changing and challenging circumstances. Along the way, we provide clear feedback and financial guidance to help you predict trends and recognize issues, then make the necessary adjustments to sustain cash flow throughout the year.

  • Timely preparation of financial statements based on your particular needs
  • Complete preparation of sales, payroll, inventory, accrual, and prepaid journal entries
  • Meticulous monthly bank and credit card reconciliations

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com