Originally published on Page 39 of Wolters Kluwer’s Federal Tax Weekly, Issue Number 4 on January 28, 2016.
Treasury and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are communicating with taxpayers about new requirements under the Affordable Care Act that are reflected on individual returns. Treasury and HHS conducted a similar outreach initiative during the 2015 filing season, the first filing season where taxpayers had to identify on their returns if they had minimum essential health coverage or would make a shared responsibility payment, unless exempt.
Take Away. “Most individuals will, like last year, merely need to check a box on their return to indicate they had coverage,” Barry Kleiman, CPA, chair of the Individual Taxation Committee, New York State Society of CPAs, told Wolters Kluwer. These include individuals with employer-provided coverage, individuals covered by Medicare and other government programs.
The ACA generally imposed an individual shared responsibility requirement. Individuals must have minimum essential health coverage or make a shared responsibility payment, unless they qualify for an exemption. Most employer-provided health insurance coverage qualifies as minimum essential coverage. Medicare Part A coverage and Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and TRICARE provide minimum essential coverage. Under the ACA, minimum essential coverage does not include coverage providing only limited benefits, such as stand-alone vision care or dental care, workers’ compensation and accident/disability policies.
Comment. HHS maintains an online tool on HealthCare.gov to help individuals understand if they qualify for an exemption. Marketplace navigators also can assist individuals with the exemption process, Treasury and HHS explained.
The Health Insurance Marketplace issues Forms 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, to enrollees, which will describe their coverage and include information about advance payments of the Code Sec. 36B premium assistance tax credit. Treasury and HHS reminded individuals who received advance payments of the credit that they will need to complete Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit, and reconcile the advance payments of the credit with the actual credit amount.
Comment. The deadline for the Health Insurance Marketplace to provide Form 1095-A is February 1, 2016. Last year, some enrollees in Marketplace coverage received incorrect Forms 1095-A, which resulted, in some cases, in incorrect calculations for the Code Sec. 36B credit amount.
Health insurance providers and certain employers generally will furnish information returns to covered individuals (Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage), describing the health insurance coverage the recipient had or was offered in 2015. This is the first year that covered individuals will receive these forms. Treasury and HHS reminded taxpayers that they do not need to attach these forms to their return or wait to receive the form before filling their return.
Comment. The deadline for health insurance providers and certain employers to furnish Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to covered individuals is
March 31, 2016. The IRS provided filers of these forms with extended
deadlines in Notice 2016-4.
Comment. Practitioners should educate their clients about these new forms, Kleiman told Wolters Kluwer. The ACA and all of its accompanying complexity have generated many questions among taxpayers and make it very challenging to navigate all of the reporting and other requirements without professional assistance, he emphasized.