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ACA tax confusion leads to filing extension in NH

SHAWNE WICKHAM
New Hampshire Sunday News

February 21. 2015 7:59PM


Granite Staters who recently discovered they owe tax penalties for not having health insurance in 2014 have more time to buy coverage for 2015 and avoid higher penalties next year.

The New Hampshire Sunday News recently reported that tax preparers here have been encountering unhappy customers who were finding out that the tax penalties for being uninsured under the Affordable Care Act were higher than expected.

And they worried that many of those folks will be paying even higher fines - the IRS calls them "shared responsibility payments" - next year.

The enrollment period for 2015 was supposed to close on Feb. 15. But the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Friday that a "special enrollment period" will extend from March 15 to April 30 in states using a federally facilitated marketplace. That includes New Hampshire.

The special enrollment period is "for those who were unaware or didn't understand the implications of the fee for not enrolling in coverage," a news release from CMS stated.

To enroll, consumers will have to attest that they became aware of the tax penalties when they filled out their 2014 taxes, and that they paid the fine for not having coverage in 2014.

According to CMS, an estimated three-quarters of all taxpayers will only have to check a box on their tax returns to indicate that they had health coverage in 2014 through their employer or a government program such as Medicare or Medicaid.

Households that went without coverage in 2014 have to pay a fee of $95 per uninsured adult (plus $47.50 per child), or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater. In 2015, that fee increases to $325 per adult and $162.50 per child, or 2 percent of income.

Individuals who take advantage of the special enrollment period that opens next month will still have to pay a fee for the months they were uninsured in 2015, according to CMS.

For information, visit healthcare.gov/get-coverage; or localhelp.healthcare.gov. Or call the Federally Facilitated Marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596.


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