IRS to block, suspend tax returns that lack Obamacare disclosures

IRS to block, suspend tax returns that lack Obamacare disclosures

The IRS said it will not accept electronic tax returns, and will suspend paper returns, that do not disclose whether the filer had health insurance coverage during the year.
The IRS' move, which will bolster compliance with Affordable Care Act rules, comes as the Trump administration takes other steps to undercut the law.
The penalty for not having some form of health coverage in 2017 is the higher of 2.5 percent of household income or $695 per adult.

By Dan Mangan Published 6 Hours Ago  Updated 4 Hours Ago

The Internal Revenue Service, in a new policy, says it will block or suspend processing of 2017 income tax returns that do not comply with Obamacare rules requiring filers to disclose their health insurance status.

The IRS' move to tighten Americans' compliance with the Affordable Care Act comes even as the Trump administration remains hostile to that health law and takes steps to undercut it.

"Taxpayers remain obligated to follow the law and pay what they may owe at the point of filing," the IRS said in a description of the new policy.

The ACA requires most people to have some form of health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty — a requirement known as Obamacare's individual mandate.

That penalty is the higher of 2.5 percent of adjusted gross household income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under age 18.

The agency, in an online notification to tax professionals, said that in the upcoming tax filing season "the IRS will not accept electronically filed tax returns where the taxpayer does not address the health coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act."

"Returns filed on paper that do not address the health coverage requirements may be suspended pending the receipt of additional information and any refunds may be delayed," the IRS said.

Income tax returns contain a box that asks filers if they had health coverage during the year.

If they indicate they did not have coverage, filers are required to either indicate on what grounds they are exempt from the mandate or to say they will pay and then calculate the penalty for not complying with the mandate.

The IRS said it will not accept electronically filed returns until a tax return addresses those points.

There are several possible exemptions from the mandate, including lacking access to affordable health coverage, being homeless, getting evicted, experiencing domestic violence, experiencing the death of a family member and filing for bankruptcy.


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