Tax Time is Nearly Here!

While tax season is not the happiest time of the year, it is among the most important. We want you to have all the information you need to file your

Bridget Thornton is MLA’s health insurance Navigator. MLA photo

taxes and to file them correctly. While many people work with an experienced tax preparer or accountant, some use online software tools such as Turbo Tax or H&R Block.

Taxpayers have until April 17, 2018, to file their 2017 returns and pay any taxes due. Choosing e-file and direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund, if you are eligible for one. Prior to sitting down and doing your taxes you should have all the documentation you need to file a complete tax return, including forms such as a W-2 from employers and a 1099 from your banks and any other payers. You should also have your 1095-A from the Health Insurance Marketplace showing that you had health insurance coverage for 2017. If you have employer-based health insurance you should receive a 1095-C from the insurance company.

Having an accurate 1095-A is especially important if you were receiving an Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) to lower your monthly health insurance premium. The APTC must be reconciled on your tax return. The two figures that are compared on Form 8962, the Premium Tax Credit form, are:

  • the amount of Premium Tax Credit you used in advance during the year (this was paid directly to your health insurance company to lower your monthly premium payment).
  • the Premium Tax Credit you actually qualify for based on your final income for the year.

Any difference between the two figures will affect the amount of tax you owe. You should have received your 1095-A in the mail by this time or you can access the form on your heathcare.gov account. If you haven’t received it or if it’s incorrect, contact the Health Insurance Marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596.

The information that is provided on Form 1095-A is used to complete Part II of Form 8962. On line 26, you’ll find out if you used more or less of the Premium Tax Credit than you qualify for based on your final 2017 income. This figure will affect the amount of tax you must pay or the size of your refund. Include the completed Form 8962 with your 2017 federal tax return.

Individuals and families with low or moderate incomes can get free help in filing their federal taxes. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP Tax-Aide have more than 12,000 sites around the country to provide assistance. To find a site near you go to www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers.

The IRS.gov web site can be helpful. The site now has an interactive Tax Assistant to help provide answers to several tax law questions. Topics include:

  • Do I need to file a tax return?
  • Who can I claim as a dependent?
  • How much is my standard deduction?
  • What is my filing status?
  • Am I eligible to claim an education credit?

You can also use the IRS.gov web site to check the status of your refund or you can download the IRS application called IRS2GO. Taxpayers can check the status of their refund 24 hours after the IRS receives their e-filed return.