Since there seems to be increased interest, and confusion, regarding tax filing and Obamacare this year, it is worth it add some more information to help navigate the process.
The IRS Tax Form 1095a is officially known as the “Health Insurance Marketplace Statement”. If a household member or members enrolled in a healthcare plan through a state or federal exchange, you will receive a 1095a in the mail by early February. You cannot file your taxes without it. It contains information regarding your coverage, such as the number of people enrolled in a marketplace plan, and the dates of effective coverage.
Please note: you will not receive a Form 1095a if you have health coverage through a job or through programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
What you will see on a Form 1095a?
–The form will have information about every member of your household who received Obamacare coverage in 2014. Each person will be listed separately.
–The form will list month-by-month, the amount you paid for your health insurance premium. Each person will be listed separately.
–The form will provide the amount of the “premium tax credits” you received in 2014. They are also called “advanced payments”. This amount is what lowered your monthly premiums, and was calculated based upon income information you provided when you enrolled.
–The form will list the cost of a “benchmark” premium that your premium tax credit is based on. This was the second-lowest cost silver plan, and was considered the “benchmark” to determine subsidies for lower- and moderate-income earners who enrolled in Obamacare.
Why is the 1095a necessary?
The 1095a is your PROOF OF INSURANCE. It contains all the information you need to fill out your form 8965, which is the Premium Tax Credit form. The 8962 Form is a worksheet, whose calculation gets recorded on your 2014 Tax Return.
The main point of all of these forms is really the Premium Tax Credit portion. Remember, 85% of Obamacare enrollees received some sort of subsidy, which is properly known to the IRS as a “Premium Tax Credit”. But most people opted not to receive their tax credit at tax filing time (now). They received it in advance, during 2014, in the form of monthly amounts that were credited against the monthly healthcare premium costs. These advance payments lowered the monthly cost of insurance.
The credit was tabulated based on estimated income information furnished during the application process. But because income situations can change over the course of a year (remember you enrolled at the beginning of 2014), the IRS requires you to re-calculate your income again at tax time (now), and match it against the amount and information you provided when you enrolled.
Since your Premium Tax Credit was based upon estimated income amounts, the amount you were eligible to receive as a tax credit may be higher or lower than what you actually did receive. So, using the information you receive on your 1095a about your household and your payments and your subsidies, you then fill out the Form 8962 to calculate the ACTUAL amount of tax credit you were eligible for in 2014, and check it against what you received as an advance payment applied to your monthly premium costs. Any differences will be resolved either by either reducing or increasing your tax credit amount, which will then affect the final amount of taxes due or taxes returned to you.
Also note — if you enrolled in Obamacare, you must fill out Form 8925, which means you cannot file a 1040EZ. You must file a traditional 1040 tax return.
All the information listed above that you will see on the 1095a is important. If there are any errors, it is imperative that you contact the Obamacare marketplace immediately to resolve the inconsistencies before you file your taxes.