WASHINGTON – A mandate requiring employers to report the value of employer-sponsored health coverage on employees' W-2 forms recently received a one-year reprieve. The W-2 reporting mandate is included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law enacted in spring of this year.

Earlier this week the Obama Administration announced that starting in 2012 it will require employers to provide health-benefits information on W-2 forms.

Originally, the mandate was supposed to apply to tax year 2011 W-2 forms. However, the Treasury Department indicated it will make the data optional for 2011 to allow employers more time to prepare for the requirement.

Although the IRS is soliciting comments on a new W-2 form with an extra field to accommodate the health-benefits information, it expects to make the revised W-2 final by the end 2010. Instructions for the new W-2 reportedly make it clear employees do not owe taxes on the value of group health care coverage reported on the W-2, according to the National Restaurant Association.