If you are one of the millions of Americans who declined health insurance and decided to pay the
fee tax fine penalty, be aware that it will be a part of your 2014 tax calculations — and beyond.
The penalty is officially called the “shared responsibility payment”. This is on U.S. Individual Income Tax Return for 2014, Form 1040, line 61; OR Form 1040A, line 38; OR Form 1040EZ, line 11. The instructions to calculate that are here, on page 5.
The penalty for 2014 is relatively cheap in order to transition Obamacare into your life. Be aware, however, that next year and in subsequent years, the penalty goes up swiftly — pressuring you to get a health insurance plan or else pay the piper.
Here’s how it works:
“Beginning in 2014, absent a qualified exemption, you will be required to obtain health insurance. If you fail to comply, you will be subject to a penalty of 1.0% of your annual income or $95.00, whichever is greater.
In 2015, the penalty increases to the greater of 2.0% of annual income or $325 per person. The following year it becomes the greater of 2.5% of income or $695 per person. After 2016, it will be indexed to the cost of living.
It should also be noted that the maximum penalty is capped at three times the per person penalty. For example, if you earn $28,500 in 2014, 1.0% of your income would equal $285. Therefore, if you earn more than this, your maximum penalty would remain the same. All penalties will be due and payable with your annual federal income tax return. Hence, the penalty for 2014 would be due by April 15, 2015 and the IRS will be the collection agency used.”
The method of assessing and collection the fee is through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The fee will be collected by deducting its cost from a person’s tax refund. But for those who don’t get a refund, the IRS isn’t allowed to demand payment either, so it is unclear how those fees will be attained. This ambiguity also leads to further questions about how Obamacare is being actually being paid for (as the penalty is one of the revenues to help offset the costs).”
Not sure if you qualify for an exemption to maintain qualified coverage? The IRS rules allow an exemption if you:
–Have no affordable coverage options because the minimum amount you must pay for the annual premiums is more than eight percent of your household income, OR
–Have a gap in coverage for less than three consecutive months, OR
–Qualify for an exemption for one of several other reasons, including having a hardship that prevents you from obtaining coverage, or belonging to a group explicitly exempt from the requirement.
Interestingly, Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, indicated today that “that the administration might offer some enrollment flexibility around the April 15 tax deadline, so that people who suddenly realize they face a penalty for remaining uninsured could have an opportunity to remedy that.” Burwell, however, did not offer any specifics of what that flexibility might look like.
Sunday, February 15 is the Obamacare enrollment deadline. The CBO lowered its target for this year, from 13 million paid enrollees, to 9.1 paid enrollees. According to the latest figures which combine “HHS data on enrollment through HealthCare.gov and the 14 state-run exchanges, more than 10 million people had signed up as of earlier this month. That means they’d selected a plan, but many still have to make their first premium payment to get covered. Inevitably, some won’t do that.” Also note, New York announced today that citizens have an extended enrollment deadline until February 28 to enroll in Obamacare coverage on the state exchange.
Last year, 6.7 million people paid for Obamacare coverage, a number far fewer than Administration officials predicted when Obamacare began in October 2013.