(BPT) - The most significant implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as “Obamacare,” are just around the corner. In addition to having wide-ranging effects on health insurance in 2014 and 2015, the legislation also impacts income taxes.
“Though the Affordable Care Act has implications on income taxes, you can still act confidently when preparing your tax return with an online solution,” says TaxACT spokesperson Jessi Dolmage. “The question and answer interview will cover all the tax law changes.”
The health care act included several tax law changes for 2013 federal income tax returns due April 15, 2014:
* Employees will report the total amount paid by them and their employer for health insurance premiums, flexible spending beyond payroll deductions and other premiums, on their returns. “The amount is needed for health insurance changes; it doesn’t impact your taxable income,” explains Dolmage. “Simply enter the amount in Box 12 with Code DD on your Form W-2 when prompted by the tax program.”
* If you itemize deductions, the threshold for deducting medical expenses increases to 10 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI). The threshold for taxpayers age 65 and older remains at 7.5 percent. The tax software will calculate the deduction after you enter your medical expenses.
* A 3.8 percent tax on net investment income will apply to taxpayers at higher income levels based on filing status. Individuals and heads of household with an AGI of $200,000 plus, married couples filing separately with an AGI of $125,000 plus, and couples filing jointly with an AGI of $250,000 plus must pay the tax. Answer a few questions about investment income and your tax program will do the rest.
* Taxpayers in those same AGI ranges will also pay an additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax on wages and compensation in excess of $200,000. The tax is automatically withheld from employee wages, with the total amount provided in Box 6 of your Form W-2. If you’re a business owner or self-employed, the tax is calculated using figures on your Schedule SE.
The health insurance requirement doesn’t have tax implications for another year. If you have health insurance, your online tax solution will guide you through the simple process of reporting it on your 2014 tax return due April 2015. If you don’t have health insurance for a total of three or more months in 2014, you may pay a penalty that’s reported and calculated on your tax return. Tax programs will calculate the amount based on number of uninsured individuals in your household and household income.
Uninsured individuals can shop and apply for health insurance through online “marketplaces,” also called “exchanges,” starting Oct. 1. States will have their own marketplaces, use the federal government’s Health Insurance Marketplace or a hybrid of the two. Enrollment closes March 31, 2014.
If you don’t have access to minimum required employer-provided insurance and purchase insurance through a marketplace, you may qualify for a tax credit. The money can be used to pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. Eligibility and amounts are based on the cost of marketplace premiums and your household size and income. The credit will be paid directly to the health insurance company. If you elect to receive a lesser credit or no credit at all, you can claim the refundable credit on your 2014 tax return.
Whether you have a simple or complex situation, TaxACT makes it easy to navigate the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act anytime, anywhere. Prepare, print and e-file your federal taxes free at www.taxact.com/affordable-care-act. Visit the Health Insurance Marketplace for information about insurance options at www.healthcare.gov.