IRS accepting comments on changes to Form 990 rules
The Internal Revenue Service said it will briefly accept comments about changes to the Form 990 that were prompted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The agency will take comments through May 16 on new reporting requirements to monitor how hospitals comply with new criteria for how not-for- profit hospitals may maintain their tax breaks. The American Hospital Association, which has criticized the agency for failing to seek public comment on changes, has urged federal officials to revise the changes to eliminate “redundancies, inconsistencies” and “onerous reporting requirements.” But the agency’s request for comment did not fully satisfy the trade group. Melinda Hatton, AHA senior vice president and general counsel, called the five-day comment period an “unexplained short turnaround” and “puzzling” in the trade group’s daily newsletter. The ACA requires hospitals to publicize financial aid policies; limit charges to low-income patients; hold off on “extraordinary” collections before verifying whether patients qualify for aid; and conduct a community-needs assessment every three years. Questions related to the requirements are included on the Form 990 for tax year 2011, though reporting on community needs is voluntary. The IRS said it is seeking comment on whether information it will collect is necessary and useful. It will also take comment on the burden created by reporting; ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of information; ways to minimize the burden of collection; and any start-up or capital cost estimates.