With the 2017 tax filing season in full swing, it’s not too early to think about how the health care law affects your taxes. The Affordable Care Act requires you and each member of your family to do at least one of the following:
- Have qualifying health coverage called minimum essential coverage
- Qualify for a health coverage exemption
- Make a shared responsibility payment with your federal income tax return for the months that you did not have coverage or an exemption
If you meet certain criteria for the tax year, you may be exempt from the requirement to have minimum essential coverage. You will not have to make a shared responsibility payment for any month that you are exempt. Instead, you’ll file Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, with your federal income tax return. For any month that you do not qualify for a coverage exemption, you will need to have minimum essential coverage or make a shared responsibility payment. You may be exempt if you meet one of the following:
- The lowest-cost coverage available to you is considered unaffordable
- You have a gap in coverage that is less than three (3) consecutive months
- You qualify for an exemption for one of several other reasons, including having a hardship that prevents you from obtaining coverage or belonging to a group specifically exempt from the coverage requirement
The Federally-facilitated Marketplace is no longer granting exemptions for members of a health care sharing ministry, members of Indian Tribes, and incarceration. Eligible individuals can still claim these exemptions on a tax return. For a full list of exemptions and how to claim them, please call.
Federal tax returns that do not reflect at least one of these options–reporting health care coverage, claiming a coverage exemption or reporting a shared responsibility payment–will be rejected if the return is filed electronically. If filed on paper, tax returns that do not reflect at least one of these options will take longer to process and any refunds will be delayed. You should respond promptly to IRS correspondence about your health care coverage.