NOTE: This version of the assister newsletter revises the Tax Season Spotlight where the hyperlinks to resources were initially defective.
This tax season, the Marketplace and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have told consumers that they must have had Minimal Essential Coverage (MEC) to avoid paying the penalty for the 2015 benefit year. If a consumer didn’t obtain coverage directly from the Marketplace, they may have a hard time figuring out if the coverage they had actually qualifies as MEC, if they qualify for an exemption from the requirement to have coverage, or if they have to pay the penalty. The resources below provides some helpful information to guide consumers through each scenario.
- What is Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC)?
- Types of Health Insurance that Count as MEC
- Minimum Essential Coverage Chart (IRS)
- Shared responsibility payment & exemptions information for Assisters
- Health coverage exemptions, forms & how to apply
- Exemption Screener Tool
- Individual Shared Responsibility Payment Estimator
- Reporting and Calculating the Payment
- Health Care Individual Shared Responsibility Resources for Consumers
As we approach the April 18th deadline, consumers will likely reach out to assisters for help in understanding how health care affects their taxes. While assisters are prohibited from helping consumers with filing their taxes (unless you are also a licensed tax professional), being able to refer a consumer to a tax professional is an excellent way to guide a consumer to the help they need. Where assisters are also licensed tax professionals, they might be in a position to assist clients with the tax filing components of the premium tax credit reconciliation process or claiming exemptions through a tax return, but should keep these duties separate and not perform any tax assistance within their capacity as an assister.