Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, including the individual mandate to have health insurance, many questions arise when it is time to file tax returns. One issue that came up this week is calculating your premium tax credit.
If you purchased your health insurance through the federal health marketplace, at the time of the purchase you had three choices regarding your premium tax credit:
• Apply all of the premium tax credit to reduce your monthly premium cost.
• Apply part of the premium tax credit to reduce your monthly premium cost and receive the rest when you file your tax return.
• Receive all the premium tax credit when you file your tax return.
In January or early February, you should then receive Form 1095-A. This lists how long the policy was in force and who was covered under the policy. Part III of the form lists your monthly total premium in column A, the monthly second lowest cost silver plan (SLCSP) premium in column B, and the advance payment of the premium tax credit you received in column C.
This information is needed to complete Form 8962 that must be attached to your tax return in order to receive the premium tax credit. Form 8962 is used to calculate the amount of your premium tax credit and to reconcile it with the advance payment of the premium tax credit you received through reduced health insurance premiums.
A problem can arise if Column B on Form 1095-A is blank, listed as zero, or incorrect. This can happen if:
• You chose not to receive any advance premium tax credit.
• You had a change in circumstances that affected the SLCSP, such as:
o You had a baby and added him/her to your health insurance policy.
o Someone covered under your policy died during the year.
o You moved during the year.
If the amounts listed on your Form 1095-A, Column B are incorrect, according to the instructions for Form 8962, you do not need to ask the Marketplace to provide you with a corrected Form 1095-A.
You will need to determine the correct SLCSP premium for your situation for each month. This is done using a tool on the federal Marketplace. This tool can be found at https://www.healthcare.gov/tax-tool/. If you purchase your health insurance through your state Marketplace, you will need to contact them to obtain your correct SLCSP premium.
While it may be disconcerting to see all those zeros or incorrect numbers in Column B of 1095-A, do not panic. Just use the Marketplace tool to determine your correct SLCSP premium and keep that documentation with your 1095-A and other tax records.Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.