IRS to Accept Tax Returns Without Individual Health Coverage Status

Consistent with President Trump’s January 20, 2017, executive order the Internal  Revenue Service (IRS) has decided to continue accepting tax returns even if a taxpayer doesn’t indicate his or her health coverage status, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

IRS Accepting Tax Returns Without Individual Health Coverage Status
ACA requires each individual to have “minimum essential coverage” health insurance or qualify for an exemption or pay a penalty. The 1040 tax form instructions illustrate:

The IRS gets this information from Form 1040, the U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, where individual taxpayers indicate their health coverage status on line 61.

For 2016 coverage, filling out this line will continue to be voluntary. The IRS planned to make the health care coverage line mandatory but changed plans in light of the executive order to minimize burden. The IRS appears to be easing enforcement of the individual responsibility provision. If the taxpayer is “silent,” then the IRS will still process the return. Like in past years, the IRS says it may follow up with people who leave the health coverage line blank at a future date, after the filing process is completed.

The IRS advises taxpayers to continue filing their tax returns as they normally would. The ACA is still the law until changed by Congress, and taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe‎. Employer and insurer reporting is required just like last year. Stay on top of the latest ACA developments by following the Future of ACA in ACA Central.

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Jenny Lucey, CEBS
Information/Research Specialist at the International Foundation