Forget Something on Your 2018 Return?

If you forgot to include necessary information on your 2018 return, you are not alone. In addition, you may have received a revised 1099 or K-1 since filing your return. The IRS has struggled to deal with the enormity of the changes in the recent tax reform; despite significant pressure to update its regulations, forms, and publications, the IRS could not finish all of its tax-reform updates in a timely manner. Some IRS publications still have not been updated for 2018, and others even include errors. The new tax regulations have been dribbling out, but the IRS still has not provided sufficient guidance for some issues.

As a result of this uncertainty, you may receive a corrected 1099 or K-1. You may also need to update your return because, like most taxpayers, you did not fully comprehend all of the provisions of the new tax law thus failing to include an item of income, deduction, or credit. You also may have simply overlooked an item of income or missed a significant deduction. These mistakes happen, which is why the IRS and state tax agencies allow for amended tax returns.

A failure to report an item of income will generate an IRS inquiry; this typically happens a year or so after the filing of the original return—which is after the interest and penalties have built up. On the other hand, if you forgot a deduction and are owed a refund, you should not let that go by the wayside.

In some cases, marital problems lead taxpayers to file incorrectly—for instance, by incorrectly claiming children or not allocating income correctly. These and myriad other issues can be corrected by amending the returns. As warning, please note that, if you are married and filed a joint return, you cannot amend to file separate returns. However, a married couple’s separate returns can be amended into a single joint return.

Regardless of the issue, the solution is to file an amended return as soon as possible. This will minimize the penalties and interest in the case of omitted income and will also prevent you from getting those annoying letters from the IRS. Amended returns can also be used to claim an overlooked credit, to correct your filing status or number of dependents, to report an omitted investment transaction, to submit a delayed K-1, or to include any other information that should have been on the original return.

If an overlooked item results in a tax increase, filing the amended return quickly will mitigate the penalties and interest. Procrastination will lead to further complications when the IRS eventually determines that information is missing, so it is always best to take care of the issue right away.

Generally, to claim a refund on an amended return, you must file the amendment within three years of the date when you filed the original return, or within two years of the date when you paid the tax—whichever is later.

If any of these issues apply to you, please give this office a call so that we can prepare the necessary amended returns.

Made a Mistake on Your Tax Return?

Generally speaking, tax return mistakes are a lot more common than you probably realize. Taxes are naturally complicated, and the paperwork required to file them properly is often convoluted. This is especially true if you’re filing your taxes yourself — and all of this is in reference to a fairly normal year as far as the IRS is concerned.

The 2018 tax year, however, certainly does not qualify as a “normal year.”

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, even seasoned financial professionals are having a hard time digesting all of the changes that they and their clients are now dealing with. All of this is to say that if you’ve just discovered that you’ve made a BIG mistake on your tax return this year, the first thing you should do is stop and take a deep breath. It happens. It’s understandable. There ARE steps that you can take to correct the situation quickly — you just have to keep a few key things in mind.

Fixing Tax Return Mistakes: Here’s What You Need to Do

All told, you have three years from the date that you originally filed your tax return (or two years from the date you paid the tax bill in question) to make any corrections necessary to fix your mistakes. If nothing about your return ultimately changes, you probably don’t have anything to worry about — in fact, there’s a good chance that the IRS will catch the mistake and fix it themselves. This is especially true in terms of math errors, or if you’ve left out an important document. The IRS will probably send you a letter letting you know what happened and what you need to do to correct it.

If fixing the mistake ultimately results in you owing more taxes, you should pay that difference as quickly as possible. Penalties and interest will keep accruing on that unpaid portion of your bill for as long as it takes for you to pay it, so it’s in your best interest to take care of this as soon as you can afford to do so.

If you’ve made a much larger mistake (like if you understated or overstated your income, for example), you’ll need to file what is called an amended tax return. This is essentially your “second chance” at getting things right, and the timetable above still applies. Understand, however, that ALL errors must be corrected in the amended return. This means that if you find three errors that will reduce your tax liability and two that actually increase it, you are legally required to correct all five. You can’t correct only the mistakes that benefit you.

An amended return can be used to correct a variety of issues, including but not limited to ones like:

  • Overstating or understating your income
  • Changing an incorrect filing status
  • Accounting for dependents
  • Taking care of discrepancies in terms of deductions or tax credits

If any of the above apply to the error you’ve just discovered, you can — and absolutely should — file an amended return.

A sudden increase in your tax liability notwithstanding, it’s again important to understand that even “major” errors on your income taxes aren’t really worth stressing out about. The IRS understands that sometimes mistakes happen, and they have a variety of processes in place designed to help make things right.

This does, however, underline how valuable it can be to partner with the right financial professional to do your taxes next year. You’ve got a career and a life to lead — you’re probably not going to be up to date on every small change that rolls out in the tax code. A financial professional will, as it is literally their job to do so.

If nothing else, this will help generate some much-needed peace-of-mind regarding the accuracy of your return. You won’t have to worry about whether or not the IRS is going to find some big mistake down the road because you’ve dramatically reduced the chances of those mistakes happening in the first place.

Happy Tax Day!

April 15 is a date Americans often dread. But this year, as millions of families finished filing their taxes, most were in for a pleasant surprise: a much lower bill from Uncle Sam.

Today marks the first “Tax Day” under President Donald J. Trump’s new, simplified tax code. “When government loosens its grip, there is no summit we cannot reach,” the President said before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed into law in 2017. He promised that historic tax cuts would “breathe new life into the American economy.”

He was right. Here are some of the big wins for working families under the new code:

  • A doubled Child Tax Credit—from $1,000 to $2,000 per child
  • A nearly doubled Standard Deduction
  • More than $2,000 in savings for an average family of four earning $75,000
  • $5.5 trillion in total tax cuts, nearly 60 percent of which goes to families

Just as important, President Trump fixed the business tax code to put American companies—and our workers—on a level playing field with the rest of the world. In addition to lowering our sky-high statutory corporate tax rate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also allowed businesses to immediately deduct expenses to invest in growing their companies.

America is open for business again as a result of those reforms:

  • Real GDP growth hit 3 percent recently for the first time since 2005
  • Half a trillion dollars in investment poured back into the U.S in 2018 alone
  • For the first time ever, there are more job openings than unemployed workers
  • Small business optimism soared a record high in 2018

CLICK HERE to continue reading

Winners & Losers Under Trump’s Tax Law

Tax day is just a couple days away and we have already seen some surprises for people filing their first income tax returns under President Donald Trump’s 2017 law.

Most Americans are paying less in taxes overall and have been startled to find that their refunds have barely changed or are down — making them feel like they lost even though they’re still coming out ahead.

Below are some ways to look at who’s winning and losing under the law.

winners

  1. Most US taxpayers
  2. Most Wealthy People
  3. Heirs
  4. Some Business Owners
  5. Red state filers who depend on refunds
  6. People taking the standard deduction
  7. Corporations

losers

  1. Blue state filers who depend on refunds
  2. People who thought a tax cut would mean a bigger refund
  3. People who thought they were getting a refund
  4. The US Treasury

CLICK HERE to read more.

The Tax Filing Deadline Is Around the Corner

Article Highlights:

  • Extensions
  • Balance-Due Payments
  • Contributions to Roth or Traditional IRAs
  • Estimated Tax Payments for the First Quarter of 2019
  • Individual Refund Claims for the 2015 Tax Year

As a reminder to those who have not yet filed their 2018 tax returns, April 15, is the due date to either file a return (and pay the taxes owed) or file for an automatic six-month extension (and pay the an estimate of the taxes owed). Caution should be exercised when preparing the extension application, which is IRS Form 4868. Even though this form is described as “automatic,” the extension is automatically granted only if it includes a reasonable estimate of the 2018 tax liability and only if that anticipated liability is paid along with the extension voucher. It is not uncommon for taxpayers to enter zero as the estimated tax liability without figuring the actual estimated amount. These taxpayers risk the IRS classifying their forms as having been improperly completed, which in turn makes the extensions invalid. If you need an extension, please contact this office so that we can prepare a valid extension for you.

The extension must be filed in a timely manner; at this office, we can file your extension electronically before the due date. If you are mailing an extension, be advised that the envelope with the extension form must only be postmarked on or before the April 15 due date. However, there are inherent risks associated with dropping an extension form in a mailbox; for instance, the envelope might not be postmarked in a timely fashion. Thus, those who have estimated tax due should mail their extension forms using registered or certified mail so as not to risk late-filing penalties.

In addition, the April 15 deadline also applies to the following:

  • Balance-Due Payments for the 2018 Tax Year – Be aware that Form 4868 is an extension to file, NOT an extension to pay. The IRS will assess late-payment penalties (with interest) on any balance due, even when the extension has been granted. Taxpayers who anticipate having a balance due need to estimate this amount and include payment for that balance, either along with the extension request (as indicated above) or electronically (through the IRS website).
  • Contributions to a Roth or Traditional IRA for the 2018 Tax Year – April 15 is the last day for 2018 contributions to either a Roth or a traditional IRA. Form 4868 does not provide an extension for making IRA contributions.
  • Individual Estimated Tax Payments for the First Quarter of 2019 – Taxpayers – especially those who have filed for extension – should be aware that the first installment of estimated taxes for the 2019 tax year is due on April 15. Taxpayers who fail to prepay the minimum (“safe-harbor”) amount can be subject to a penalty for the underpayment of the estimated tax. This penalty is based on the interest on the underpayment, which is calculated using the short-term federal rate plus 3 percentage points. The penalty is computed on a quarter-by-quarter basis, so even people who have prepaid the correct overall amount for the year may be subject to the penalty if the amounts are not paid proportionally or in a timely way. Federal tax law does provide ways to avoid the underpayment penalty. For instance, if the underpayment is less than $1,000 (referred to as the de minimis amount), no penalty is assessed. In addition, there are two safe-harbor prepayments:

    1. The first safe-harbor prepayment is based on the tax owed on the current year’s return. There is no penalty when the prepayments (including both withholding and estimated payments) equal or exceed 90% the owed amount.

    2. The second safe-harbor prepayment is based on the total tax amount (not including credits for prepayments) on the return for the immediately preceding tax year. This is generally set at 100% of the prior year’s tax liability. However, taxpayers with adjusted gross income exceeding $150,000 (or $75,000 for married taxpayers filing separately) must pay 110% of the prior year’s tax liability.

  • Individual Refund Claims for the 2015 Tax Year – The regular three-year statute of limitations expires for the 2015 tax return on April 15 of this year. Thus, no refund will be granted for a 2015 return (original or amended) that is filed after April 15. Taxpayers could risk missing out on the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, the refundable American Opportunity Tax Credit for college tuition, and the refundable child credit for the 2015 tax year if they do not file before the statute of limitations ends. Caution: The statute does not apply to balances due for unfiled 2015 returns.

If your return is still pending because of missing information, please forward that information to this office as quickly as possible so that we can ensure that your return meets the April 15 deadline. Keep in mind that the last week of tax season is very hectic, and your returns may not be completed in time if you wait until the last minute. If you know that the missing information will not be available before the April 15 deadline, then please let us know right away so that we can prepare an extension request (and 2019 estimated-tax vouchers, if needed).

If you have not yet completed your returns, please call this office right away so that we can schedule an appointment and/or file an extension.

IRS Warning on New Phone Scam

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a warning about a new twist on the old IRS impersonation phone scam. In this version of the scam, criminals try to convince taxpayers that they are calling from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).

The TAS is an independent organization within the IRS. Its missions is to protect your rights as a taxpayer and to help you with tax problems you can’t resolve on your own. TAS does not initiate calls to taxpayers; generally, you reach out to TAS for help, and only then would TAS make a call or otherwise contact you. You can check out the TAS website here.

In the most recent scam variation, callers “spoof” the telephone number of the IRS TAS office in Houston or Brooklyn. When calls are spoofed, the scammers have changed the caller ID to make it look like they are calling from the agency, such as the IRS TAS.

Calls may be “robo-calls” or automated calls that request a call back. Once the taxpayer returns the call, the scammer requests personal information, like your Social Security number or other personally identifiable information.

In previous variations of the IRS impersonation phone scam, fraudsters demand immediate payment of taxes by a prepaid debit card, wire transfer or gift cards. Scammers may also tell potential victims that they are entitled to a large refund, but the refund can’t be released until the taxpayers provide personal information.

No matter the details, the scams typically have these things in common:
  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may know the last four digits of the taxpayer’s Social Security number.
  • Scammers spoof caller ID to make the phone number appear as if the IRS or another local law enforcement agency is calling.
  • Scammers may send bogus IRS emails to victims to support their bogus calls.
  • Potential victims may hear background noise of other calls to mimic a call site (many of these calls come from fraudulent call centers like this one).
  • After threatening potential victims with jail time or other punishment, scammers may hang up and call back pretending to be from local law enforcement agencies or the Department of Motor Vehicles (again, spoofing calls so that the caller ID again supports the claim).
As a reminder, the IRS will never:
  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the IRS call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Despite increased publicity about these kinds of scams, reports of phone scams increased in 2018, with the IRS reporting receipt of thousands of such complaints each week. These phone scams are “a major threat to taxpayers” and as such, continued to hold down a top spot on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams.

Don’t engage or respond with scammers. Here’s how to protect yourself:
  • If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, and you do not owe tax, or if you are immediately aware that it’s a scam, don’t engage with the scammer and do not give out any information. Just hang up.
  • If you receive a telephone message from someone claiming to be from the IRS, and you do not owe tax, or if you are immediately aware that it’s a scam, don’t call them back.
  • If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS, and you owe tax or think you may owe tax, do not give out any information. Call the IRS back at 1.800.829.1040 to find out more information.
  • Never open a link or attachment from an unknown or suspicious source.
  • If you’re not sure about the authenticity of an email, don’t click on hyperlinks. A better bet is to go directly to the source’s main Web page.
  • Use security software to protect against malware and viruses found in phishing emails.
  • Use strong passwords to protect online accounts and use a unique password for each account. Longer is better, and don’t hesitate to lie about important details on websites since crooks may know some of your personal details.
  • Use two or multifactor authentication when possible. Two-factor authentication means that in addition to entering your username and password, you typically enter a security code sent to your mobile phone or other device.

Don’t fall for the tricks. Keep your personal information safe by remaining alert. And, when in doubt, assume it’s a scam.

It’s Not Too Late to Make a 2018 Retirement-Plan Contribution

Have you been ignoring your future retirement needs? This tends to happen when people are young; because retirement is far in the future, they believe that they have plenty of time to save for it. Some people even ignore the issue until late in life, which causes them to scramble to fund their retirement. Others even ignore the issue altogether, assuming that they will qualify for Social Security and that the resulting income will take care of their retirement needs.

Did you know that you can make retirement savings contributions after the close of the tax year and that these contributions may be deductible? With the April tax deadline in the near future, the window of opportunity is closing to maximize contributions to retirement and special-purpose plans for 2018. Many of these retirement contributions will also deliver tax deductions or tax credits for the 2018 tax year.

Contribution Opportunities – Some 2018 retirement contributions are available after the close of the year.
Traditional IRAs – For 2018, the maximum traditional IRA contribution is $5,500 (or $6,500 if the taxpayer is at least 50 years old on December 31, 2018). A 2018 traditional IRA contribution can be made until April 15, 2019. However, for taxpayers who have other retirement plans, some or all of their IRA contributions may not be deductible. To be eligible to contribute to IRAs (of any type), taxpayers—or spouses if married and filing jointly—must have earned income such as wages or self-employment income.

Roth IRAs – A Roth IRA is a nondeductible retirement account, but its earnings are tax-free upon withdrawal—provided that the requirements for the holding period and age are met. Roth IRAs are a good option for many taxpayers who aren’t eligible for deductible contributions to a traditional IRA. For 2018, the contribution limits for a Roth IRA are the same as for a traditional IRA: $5,500 (or $6,500 if the taxpayer is at least 50 years old). A 2018 Roth IRA contribution can also be made until April 15, 2019.

Caution: For those who have both traditional and Roth IRA contributions, the combined limit for 2018 is also $5,500 (or $6,500 if the taxpayer is at least 50 years old).

Spousal IRA Contributions – A nonworking spouse can open and contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA based on the working spouse’s earned income. The spouses are subject to the same contribution limits, and their combined contributions cannot exceed the working spouse’s earned income. Spousal IRA contributions for 2018 must also be made by April 15, 2019.

Simplified Employee Pension IRAs – Simplified Employee Pension IRAs are tax-deferred plans for sole proprietorships and small businesses. This is probably the easiest way to build retirement dollars, as it requires virtually no paperwork. The maximum contribution depends on a business’s net earnings. For 2018, the maximum contribution is the lesser of 25% of the employee’s compensation or $55,000. A 2018 contribution to such a plan can be made up to the return’s due date (including extensions). Thus, unlike a traditional or Roth IRA, a Simplified Employee Pension IRA can be established and funded for 2018 as late as October 15, 2019 (if an extension to file a 2018 Form 1040 has been granted).

Solo 401(k) Plans – A growing number of self-employed individuals are forsaking the Simplified Employee Pension IRA for a newer type of retirement plan called a Solo 401(k) or Self-Employed 401(k). This plan is available to self-employed individuals who do not have employees, and it is notable mostly for its high contribution levels.

For 2018, Solo 401(k) contributions can equal 25% of compensation, plus a salary deferral of up to $18,500. The total contributions, however, can’t exceed $55,000 or 100% of compensation. Note that an individual must have established the Solo 401(k) account by December 31, 2018, to make 2018 contributions. However, contributions to an established account can then be made up to the return’s due date (which can be extended to October 15, 2019, for most taxpayers). Taxpayers who did not establish a Solo 401(k) account by the end of 2018 can still open one now for 2019 contributions.

Health Savings Accounts – Health savings accounts are only available for individuals who have high-deductible health plans. For 2018, this refers to plans with a deductible of at least $1,350 for individual coverage or $2,700 for family coverage. These accounts allow individuals to save money to pay for their medical expenses.

Money that an individual does not spend on medical expenses stays in that person’s account and gains (tax-free) interest, just like in an IRA. Because unused amounts remain available for later years, health savings accounts can be used as additional retirement funds. The maximum contributions for 2018 are $3,450 for individual coverage and $6,900 for family coverage. The annual contribution limits are increased by $1,000 for individuals who are at least 55 years old. Contributions to a health savings account for 2018 can be made through April 15, 2019.
Please note that the information provided above is abbreviated. Contact this office for specific details on how each option applies to your situation.

Saver’s Credit – Low- and moderate-income workers are eligible for a saver’s credit that helps them offset part of the first $2,000 that they contribute to an IRA or a qualified employer-based retirement plan. This credit helps individuals who don’t normally have the resources to set money aside for retirement, and it is available in addition to the other tax benefits that are associated with retirement-plan contributions.

This credit is provided to encourage taxpayers to save for retirement. To prevent taxpayers from taking distributions from existing retirement savings and then re-depositing them to claim this credit, the qualifying retirement contributions used to figure the credit are reduced by any retirement-plan distributions taken during a “testing period”: the prior two tax years, the current year, and the portion of the subsequent tax year up to the return’s due date (including extensions).

Children with Earned Income – Many children hold part-time jobs, and after the recent tax reform, the standard deduction allows these children to earn $12,000 tax-free. This earned income also qualifies children for IRA contributions. Although children may balk at contributing their hard-earned income to an IRA, their parents or grandparents can gift Roth IRA contributions to children. That Roth IRA will significantly increase in value by the time the child reaches retirement age, 45 or 50 years later.

Individuals’ financial resources, family obligations, health, life expectancy, and retirement expectations vary greatly, and there is no one-size-fits-all retirement strategy. Events such as purchasing a home or putting children through college can limit retirement contributions; these events must be accounted for in any retirement plan.

If you have questions about any of the retirement vehicles discussed above or if you would like to discuss how retirement contributions will affect your 2018 tax return, please give this office a call.

March 2019 Business Due Dates

March 1 – Farmers and Fishermen

File your 2018 income tax return (Form 1040) and pay any tax due. However, you have until April 15 (April 17 if you live in Maine or Massachusetts) to file if you paid your 2018 estimated tax by January 15, 2019.

March 4 – Applicable Large Employer (ALE) – Form 1095-C

If you’re an Applicable Large Employer, provide the 2018 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, to full-time employees. The normal due date for giving employees their copy of the 1095-C is January 31, 2019, but the IRS gave a blanket extension of 30 days to ALEs for 2019 filings.

March 15 – Partnerships

File a 2018 calendar year return (Form 1065). Provide each partner with a copy of Schedule K-1 (Form 1065), Partner’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc., or a substitute Schedule K-1. If you want an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return and provide Schedules K-1 or substitute Schedules K-1 to the partners, file Form 7004. Then, file Form 1065 and provide the K-1s to the partners by September 16.

March 15 – S-Corporations

File a 2018 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120S) and pay any tax due. Provide each shareholder with a copy of Schedule K-1 (Form 1120S), Shareholder’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc., or a substitute Schedule K-1 (Form 1120S). To request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return, file Form 7004 and pay the tax estimated to be owed. Then file the return; pay any tax, interest, and penalties due; and provide each shareholder with a copy of their Schedule K-1 (Form 1120S) by September 16.

March 15 – S-Corporation Election

File Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, to choose to be treated as an S corporation beginning with calendar year 2019. If Form 2553 is filed late, S treatment will begin with calendar year 2020.

March 15 – Social Security, Medicare and Withheld Income Tax

If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in February.

March 15 – Non-Payroll Withholding

If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in February.

Relief from the Affordable Care Act Penalty for Not Being Insured

Article Highlights:

  • Tax Reform
  • Penalty for Not Being Insured
  • Premium Tax Credit
  • Employer Penalty
  • Coverage Exemptions
  • Hardship Exemptions

Thanks to the tax reform, beginning in 2019, the penalty for not having adequate health insurance, which the government refers to as the “individual shared responsibility payment,” will no longer apply.

The elimination of this penalty as of 2019 does not impact the health care subsidy for low-income families, which is known as the premium tax credit and which is available for policies acquired through a government insurance marketplace. This elimination also does not affect the penalties assessed on employers that do not offer affordable insurance to employees and that have 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees.

However, the penalty still applies for individual taxpayers who did not have minimum essential health coverage for 2018 and is the greater of the sum of the family’s flat dollar amounts or 2.5% of the amount by which the household’s income exceeds the income-tax-filing threshold.

For 2018, the flat dollar amounts are $695 per year ($57.92 per month) for each adult and half that amount ($347.50; $28.96 per month) for each child under the age of 18; the maximum family penalty using this method is $2,085 per year ($173.75 per month).

As an example, say that a family of four (2 adults and 2 children) has a household income that exceeds the income-tax-filing threshold by $100,000. This family would have a maximum penalty equal to the greater of the flat dollar amount ($695 + $695 + $347.50 + $347.50 = $2,085) or 2.5% of the income amount (2.5% × $100,000 = $2,500). Thus, the maximum penalty would be $2,500. However, the penalties are applied separately per month, and they do not apply in a given month if certain exceptions are met.

There are a number of exceptions to the penalty, as listed below. For details related to qualifying for any of these exceptions, please give this office a call. Some of the penalty exceptions apply to the entire year, and some only apply to a specific month in the year. If penalty relief applies to a specific month, it also applies to the months just preceding and following that month. The table below lists the various exceptions and the code number the government assigned to that exception.

COVERAGE EXCEPTIONS
CODE NUMBER
Income below the tax-filing threshold.
No code
Coverage considered unaffordable.
A
Short coverage gap (less than 3 months).
B
Certain U.S. citizens or resident aliens living abroad.
C
Member of a health care ministry.
D
Member of an Indian tribe.
E
Incarcerated.
F
Aggregate self-only coverage unaffordable.
G
Resident of a state that did not expand Medicaid.
G
Member of tax household born or adopted during the year.
H
Member of tax household died during the year.
H
Member of certain religious sects.
ECN*
Ineligible for Medicaid based on a state decision not to expand Medicaid.
ECN*
Coverage considered unaffordable based on projected income.
ECN*
Certain Medicaid programs that are not minimum essential coverage.
ECN*
* Certain hardship exemptions.
G – See list below

* ECN standards for “exception certification number,” which must be applied for and provided through the government marketplace.

In addition to the general exceptions included in the table above, hardship exemptions are also available. The most common of these exemptions are:

  • Being homeless.
  • Evicted or facing eviction because of foreclosure.
  • Received a shut-off notice from a utility company.
  • Experienced domestic violence.
  • Death of a family member.
  • Fire, flood or other disaster that caused substantial damage.
  • Filed for bankruptcy.
  • Medical expenses could not cannot be paid, resulting in substantial debt.
  • Increased necessary expenses to care for an ill, disabled or aging family member.
  • Claiming a child who was denied Medicaid or CHIP coverage.
  • Ineligible for coverage because state didn’t expand Medicaid.
  • Financial or domestic circumstances, including an unexpected natural or human-caused event, causing an unexpected increase in essential expenses, which prevented obtaining coverage under a qualified health plan.
  • The expense of purchasing a qualified health plan would have caused the taxpayer to experience serious deprivation of food, shelter, clothing or other necessities.

To claim a hardship exemption, an individual must obtain an ECN through the normal application process, or for 2018, they may self-certify the hardship. However, an individual who is self-certifying is cautioned to retain documentation that demonstrates qualification for the hardship exemption, in case it is later challenged by the IRS.

A person is eligible for a hardship exemption for at least the month before, the month(s) during and the month after the specific event or circumstance that created the hardship.

This may all seem complicated; however, this office can assist you with avoiding the lack-of-health-insurance penalty. Please call with any questions you might have.

Phil Liberatore featured on Politics and Profits

Politics & Profits with Rick Amato 

Watch this short video clip as Phil Liberatore explains the reasons why Americans are receiving smaller refunds or no refunds this tax filing year.

According to IRS data for the second week of this year’s filing season, the average federal tax refund amount was down 8.7%, to $1,949, compared with the same window last year. The total number of refunds issued dropped by more than 15%.

Taxpayers who e-file and request direct deposit should see their refund hit their bank account within 21 days of submitting their return. Many have said they aren’t happy with the size of their refund this year, and some even owe money to the IRS.

PAP 021519_03 from EANTV on Vimeo.