Thursday, February 19, 2015

Obamacare tax troubles popping up

Affordable Care Act tax issues
As the filing season kicked off in January, Treasury and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials warned that millions of filers could owe Affordable Care Act, or ACA, taxes.

Some filers will face penalties because they didn't get required insurance coverage. This is the individual shared responsibility tax.

Others will find they got too much government help to buy insurance and must pay it back. This is the premium tax credit, which millions used to help pay for the coverage they bought through a marketplace exchange.

While the IRS hasn't yet issued any data as to how many taxpayers are in such ACA payment predicaments, we are starting to get anecdotal reports.

Costly life changes
One California woman recently told CNN that she's using her savings to pay back the subsidy, officially known as the advance premium tax credit, that she received to buy her coverage through her state's exchange.

But, she admits, her surprise tax bill is her fault.

When she got a job after buying her policy thanks to the tax credit, she didn't let the exchange know of her income increase. Her situation is just one that was noted in Bankrate's story on the possible Obamacare tax costs that many might face.

No issues for early filers
Obviously, most of the folks filing early are not having Obamacare tax issues. The total number of refunds issued so far this year, as well as the average refund check amount, are larger than at the same time last year.

And most taxpayers won't have Obamacare tax troubles. They have health care coverage through their employers. All they have to do is check a box to that effect on their 1040 (or 1040A or 1040EZ).

But we'll keep an eye on the IRS filing season reports. The refund amounts will drop; they do so every year. Folks getting big refunds always file early, while the rest of us who get smaller refunds or owe tax are at the end of the annual filing parade.

If the refund amounts drop dramatically, it will be interesting to see if the IRS or Treasury will offer any reasons, Obamacare or otherwise, for the decreases.

Have you finished your 2014 tax return? Did you encounter any Affordable Care Act filing problems? Did your health care coverage affect your tax bill?