Taxpayers must comply with health care reporting requirements on 2017 returns

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

In October 2017, the IRS updated its page on health care reporting requirements to inform taxpayers and tax practitioners that it will not accept electronically filed 2017 individual income tax returns unless taxpayers indicate that they and everyone on their return had health care coverage, qualified for an exemption from coverage, or will make a shared-responsibility payment (under Sec. 5000A) (IRS Statement on Health Care Reporting Requirement, available at www.irs.gov. The IRS also said that any returns filed on paper that do not address the health coverage requirements may be suspended until the Service receives additional information, and any refund due may be delayed.

This filing season will be the first time the IRS has enforced this requirement and will not accept tax returns that omit this information. Last filing season, President Donald Trump's administration issued an executive order directing the government to limit any burdens imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, pending repeal. In response, the IRS said it would not enforce the health care reporting requirement on 2016 returns filed in 2017, although taxpayers were still required to make the shared-responsibility payment if they did not have coverage or qualify for an exemption.

This year, however, the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate Service have determined that enforcing the rule when taxpayers file will make return filing easier on taxpayers and also reduce refund delays.

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