Following a White House executive order from President Donald Trump directing federal agencies to provide relief from the ACA, the Internal Revenue Service has quietly updated the rules regarding required health insurance coverage when filing taxes.
The Affordable Care Act mandates that everyone must either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a “shared responsibility payment.” This year was to be the first that the IRS would require anyone filing taxes to answer line 61 on form 1040s, indicating their health insurance coverage. As an alternative, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.
For most filing taxes, filling out line 61 would not be optional. The IRS was scheduled to begin rejecting 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, the shared responsibility payment noted, or form 8965 for exemptions included.
The mandate instead makes filling out that line voluntary
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Earlier in February, the IRS altered their rules for submitting returns (no public statement was released), allowing returns to be submitted with line 61 left blank. Previously, this would have been what is known as a “silent return”, meaning the return would not be processed. While they have retained the option to review or request more information on such returns, the process for determining what will cause such a review is not currently clear.
However, what would have been mandatory information will instead be optional. As such, silent returns will no longer be rejected automatically by the IRS. This change is a direct result of President Donald Trump’s executive order issued in January ordering the government and government agencies to provide relief from the Affordable Care Act to consumers and insurance companies, provided the relief was still within the parameters of the law as it stands.
While Obamacare is still the law of the land, this change, however small, may make it easier for consumers to go without minimum essential coverage without being subject to a tax penalty. While the law and penalty might still be there, the enforcement of the law have been greatly weakened.
The change in policy seems to indicate that Trump is working to tear down Obamacare on piece at a time, starting with the most controversial and disliked provisions, ones that directly affect millions of people. While it isn’t a full repeal and replacement of the law, it is a start, and a step in the right direction.
With the new IRS rule now making it easier to obtain coverage, now is a great time to get covered for one half the price or less of Obamacare. Call (469) 361-4032 or request a quote now!