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IRS Stops ACA Individual Mandate Enforcement

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

20 February 2017


The US Internal Revenue Service has decided to continue to allow individual tax returns in the current filing season even if the taxpayer has not indicated their health insurance coverage status.

Within the ACA's provisions, most Americans are required to maintain "minimum essential" health insurance coverage. Those individuals who do not comply with the mandate – the individual "employee mandate" – are to make "shared responsibility" payments, or tax penalties, to the IRS.

The instruction for individual taxpayers involving the ACA has been to indicate on their tax return whether they had health insurance, an exemption from coverage, or made a shared responsibility payment. In recent years, tax returns silent in that regard were still processed, but, this year, the IRS had put in place system changes that would reject tax returns during processing in instances where the taxpayer did not provide that information.

While the IRS has decided to make changes that would continue to allow returns to be accepted for processing where health coverage status is not indicated, it has been stressed that the legislative provisions of the ACA are still in force until changed by the US Congress, and taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe.

When the IRS has questions about a tax return, taxpayers may receive follow-up questions and correspondence at a future date, after the filing process is completed.

TAGS: individuals | compliance | tax | tax compliance | revenue guidance | law | insurance | Internal Revenue Service (IRS) | tax authority | health care | legislation | United States | penalties

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