Free tax-filing assistance

HEALTH INSURANCE & YOUR TAXES

When you file your taxes this year (between now and April 15, 2015), expect to see new questions regarding your health insurance status over the past year. Don’t worry. For many tax filers (with job-based coverage, Medicaid/Medicare, TRICARE, or others) this simply means checking a box on your IRS 1040 form.

For individuals that enrolled in a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace (with or without financial assistance), or were uninsured, it will mean filling out new tax forms. Seem complicated?

Free tax filing programs and free in-person assistance are available.

 

Which category best represents your health coverage situation in 2014?

You should receive an IRS 1095a Form in the mail. If you didn’t, you can download your customized form directly from your Marketplace account. Depending on how you estimated your income, you may receive receive additional tax credits (in the form of a refund, or lowering your tax bill) or you may be required to pay a portion of your financial assistance back to the IRS. Is there missing information on your 1095-A? Use healthcare.gov's tax tool to find the 2nd lowest cost silver plan in your area to determine the actual APTC.

 

  • Any job-based plan, including retiree plans and COBRA coverage
  • Medicare Part A or Part C
  • Medicaid / Health Choice (children)
  • Student health plan
  • Private health insurance plan (purchased directly)
  • Other (be sure that it meets minimum essential value)

Your tax filing task is pretty simple: Check the box.

  • You may have to pay a tax penalty if you don’t qualify for an exemption. There are many different types of exemptions. Some exemptions are granted by the Marketplace. Some can only be claimed on your tax return. For more information, go here.
    • For those people who did not have health insurance in 2014 and do not qualify for an exemption, the ACA requires you to pay a tax penalty. This penalty will affect the amount of your refund or the amount you may owe IRS. To calculate your potential tax penalty, visit the Tax Policy Center.

  • If you have reason to believe the plans offered to you on the Marketplace were unaffordable, you will need to use a tax tool on healthcare.gov to determine the average lowest cost bronze plan nationally. You will need to enter this information on Form 8962.

  • If you haven’t yet enrolled in a health plan for 2015, you can still do so and avoid next year’s penalty.  The deadline to enroll in the Federal Marketplace is February 15, 2015. You may even be eligible for financial assistance to help lower the cost of your health insurance. 

 

What are my free-tax filing options?

Self Serve:

If you are confident filing by yourself online, you can go to The Benefit Bank® of North Carolina to complete and file your federal and state income tax return for free. This option has the widest income eligibility thresholds, directly matching the thresholds for financial assistance offered on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

 

Expert In-Person Assistance:

NC Get Covered has partnered with the United Way of North Carolina’s NC 2-1-1 service to create a resource directory of free file tax help programs available in North Carolina. Consumers with household incomes with certain limits can find expert in-person tax filing assistance at the following types of locations:

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program | AARP | The Benefit Bank of North Carolina

 

Other online self-serve tax help options:

These options are authorized by the North Carolina Department of Revenue, with more narrow income requirements. Review these options carefully, as some companies charge fees.

Currently uninsured? Find local enrollment assistance.