People who procrastinate filing their income tax returns in 2015 may find out about the bigger penalty too late to fix it because of enrollment deadlines.
The one saving grace may be qualifying for a penalty exemption.
"It is important to let people know about the penalties because they are real," said
At a recent national conference in
Tax preparers may find themselves as the bearer of bad news, Thorp said.
Here's how it works:
Anyone who didn't enroll in a health plan for coverage in 2014 faces the penalty of whichever is greater --
The first-year penalty may not amount to much, but that will change when it comes to a second-year penalty.
Someone who meets with a tax preparer after
That's because open enrollment for coverage in 2015 will be from
The second-year penalty will be the greater of
The only way around the closed enrollment is a change in one's life circumstance, such as a job change, she said.
Currently, she sees a handful of people each day who fit that category.
In general, people are aware the penalty exists for not signing up for a plan, and some may have decided they can live with it.
"There were some who came in (for counseling) who found they did not want to put (a plan expense) in their budget and it is cheaper to pay the penalty," she said.
"I don't know how much it's going to be, but it's definitely cheaper than something I can't afford to begin with," she said. "The thing is, either way you look at it, we are supposed to be the land of the free. For anyone to give me an ultimatum because I am not conforming to it, we might as well be in
"I saw that more as we got nearer the deadline," Ray said. "More folks seemed cognizant of a penalty even if they didn't know the exact amount. The penalty became a motivating factor. I think navigators saw that in all states."
"Deadlines will be really tight and folks will have to act quicker to meet them," Ray said.
The exemption will apply to people whose incomes are at or below the federal poverty guidelines, for those whose insurance premiums would exceed 8 percent of their income, and for those with a short coverage gap of less than three consecutive months. Additional exemptions will apply to certain non-citizens and members of a health-care sharing ministry.
All told, the
That's revised from a
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