It's crunch time for thousands of small business owners who must comply with requirements of the Affordable Care Act for the first time.
Companies with 50 to 99 full-time employees must offer affordable insurance to employees and their dependents starting Jan. 1. They must also file tax forms with the government by Jan. 31 detailing the cost of their coverage and the names and Social Security numbers of employees and their dependents. While companies of all sizes are subject to the law must file the forms, smaller businesses without big staffs to handle the paperwork may have to hire someone to do it—at a cost of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
"It's probably going to be a big nightmare for a lot of businesses," says David Lewis, president of OperationsInc., a human resources provider based in Norwalk, Connecticut. He expects his company's business to be up 20% this year as businesses seek help to comply with the law.
The enrollment period for buying insurance starts Nov. 1. All the new requirements are likely to take many small business owners by surprise, says Bob Wheeler, a certified public accountant in Los Angeles.