Tax filing is getting even more complicated. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers and health insurance companies to give the IRS information about your income and health insurance coverage. So, the IRS has created three new tax forms, and you'll need them to prove you have health insurance and, therefore, aren't required to pay any tax penalties. You'll also need them to make a claim for tax credits you're entitled to.
These forms are the 1095-A, 1095-B and 1095-C. Here's what you need to know about them.
If you obtained health insurance from a government marketplace or exchange, you'll need to file this form with your 2015 tax return. It reports the monthly premium and monthly advance payment of the premium tax credit (which reduced your out-of-pocket cost) that you paid to your insurance provider. Since the advance premium tax credit was based on your estimated annual income when you signed up for coverage, you now need to calculate the actual credit you're allowed.
You do this when you report your income on your 2015 tax return. If your actual income was lower than what you estimated, you may be entitled to an additional premium tax credit, giving you a larger tax refund or a smaller tax owed. If your income was higher, you may have to repay some or all of the credit.
To know this, you'll have to complete Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit, and you'll have to have the Form 1095-A, which you're required to get by Jan. 31. Because you need it to file your 2015 tax return, you'll want to be sure you'll get it on time. Your health insurance exchange should be able to tell you when it expects to deliver the form. And if you've moved since you enrolled, you need to contact the exchange so it can update your address.
This form tells you and the IRS which months you (and any covered dependents) were covered by a qualifying health insurance plan. If you didn't receive health insurance through an employer but instead purchased it privately, your insurance provider will send it.
You'll need this form to prove you don't have to pay the penalty Obamacare requires if you didn't have a qualifying health insurance plan. The penalty wasn't a big deal last year, but for 2015 it has jumped to a max of $315 per individual and up to $975 per family, and will rise again for the 2016 tax year.
If your employer provided coverage that's deemed "affordable," you're not allowed to claim a premium tax credit, regardless of your income. According to the ACA, employer-provided health insurance is affordable if the portion of the annual premium you pay for individual coverage doesn't exceed 9.5 percent of your annual household income. But if paid more or your income is lower, you may be able to claim the premium tax credit.
To find out, you'll have to complete Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit and Form 1095-C. If your employer has at least 50 full-time employees, it has to send these forms to the IRS and you. But smaller employers aren't required to do so. In that case, you'll have to ask your employer for this information.