As this year’s tax filing deadline is approaching, it’s important to remember that the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. No. 115-97) did not change the individual and employer mandates under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for 2017 filings.

As we previously discussed, the IRS has stated that for the upcoming 2018 filing season, they will not accept electronically filed tax returns where the taxpayer does not address the health coverage requirements of the ACA.‎ Under the ACA, taxpayers are subject to a “shared responsibility” penalty for any month that either they or their spouse or dependents do not have “minimum essential coverage.”

Return preparer best practices.

Last week, the IRS once again reminded taxpayers of that obligation when they released a Return Preparer Best Practices information sheet. The sheet emphasizes that all individuals are required to have qualifying health care coverage (called minimum essential coverage or MEC) or potentially be liable for an individual shared responsibility tax penalty.

Extension for distributing Forms 1095 B/C.

Individuals will have to remember that the IRS has granted an extension for employers to distribute 2017 Forms 1095-B/C (the forms used to report health coverage) from Jan. 31, 2018 to March 2, 2018. Due to the extension, taxpayers may not receive their forms by the time they are ready to file their 2017 tax return. 

Reminder for taxpayers.

The IRS has confirmed that individuals may file taxes without having received their forms and may rely on other information received from their employer or coverage provider. An example would be a confirmation statement from their employer that the employer provided minimum essential coverage.  When the individual does receive their Form 1095, they should retain the statement with their tax records.

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Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.