- The Washington Times - Monday, January 12, 2015

The Obama administration said Monday it’s started to mail out the tax forms that Obamacare customers will need to file their returns.

Most Americans will only have to check a box asserting they have their own insurance and don’t owe a penalty, but those who received tax credits to buy health plans on the insurance exchanges and those who say they’re exempt from paying the penalty will have to file more paperwork.

Those who obtained subsidized coverage on the exchanges will receive what’s known as the 1095-A form, which outlines their health plan data.

Filers need the forms to calculate whether they received the correct subsidy from the government, or if they owe money to cover a difference.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the forms are being processed, state by state, for people in the three dozen states that used the federal exchange known as HealthCare.gov last year. The form will also be posted to each customer’s online account.

The federal portal and exchanges run by 13 states and the District of Columbia must have their forms ready and postmarked by Feb. 2, agency officials said.

The forms are supposed to be issued around the same time employers issue W-2 forms to their workers detailing their earnings for the year. But some businesses provide their W-2s early in the year, and analysts have worried that taxpayers will go ahead and file their returns before they have the correct Obamacare forms.

The web rollout of the federal website, HealthCare.gov, was a disaster last fall and several state-run exchanges had to scrap their web platforms, feeding into concern about what could come next as the second round of enrollment wraps up its final month.

Congress passed the health care law in 2010, but this is the first year in which tax filers will see it affect their returns. Besides matching up subsidies with income, individuals who could afford health insurance but did not obtain it or qualify for an exemption must pay the greater of $95 or 1 percent of their income over the filing threshold.

Tax-prep companies like TurboTax and H&R Block are trying to get the word out by publicizing web tools that let customers see if they will have to shell out money to the IRS because of their health care situation.

Although the IRS is managing Obamacare’s tax credits and penalties, the 1095-A forms are being issued by the federal health marketplace and the 15 state-run health exchanges.

The administration wants customers to check their forms to make sure their personal data is correct. Some customers may get more than one form if they changed health plans during the year.

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