What does your health insurance have to do with your income tax?
Nothing, you say?
“Not so fast,” Jim Worthen, a Cambria member of the Central Coast Tax Aide program, wrote in a recent email interview.
He said that, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Internal Revenue Service now plays a key role in monitoring compliance with the requirement that nearly every American have health care coverage.
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“When you have your taxes done this year,” Worthen said, “you will have to tell your tax preparer whether you and your family had coverage or not. If you bought a policy through the ACA’s health care exchange, (which in this state is called Covered California), your income-tax refund may include a government subsidy for your health policy.
“On the other hand, if you had no coverage at all, you may be asked to come up with a ‘shared-responsibility payment’ — in other words, pay a penalty. So your taxes may be a bit more complicated this season.”
Worthen and other Tax Aide members — local participants include Terry Throop and Roxanne Styles — will, as usual, be available to help at no charge.
As was the case last year, their office hours will be every Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 2 through April 6 at Rabobank, 1070 Main St. They “stand ready to help you figure out the new laws and comply with the old ones,” Worthen said.
The Tax Aide program, run by the IRS and AARP, is directed at low- and middle-income taxpayers, especially seniors. Program counselors are certified through annual training and can handle the vast majority of tax situations.
Extremely complicated or time-consuming problems, such as those involving depreciation, rental property or farm income, should be taken to paid preparers.
For an appointment or details, call 354-1157.