Trouble on the Line

I, and MANY other people, will be navigating this in a few months:

Obama administration officials and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act say they worry that the tax-filing season will generate new anger as uninsured consumers learn that they must pay tax penalties and as many people struggle with complex forms needed to justify tax credits they received in 2014 to pay for health insurance….

More than 6.5 million people had insurance through the exchanges at some point last year, and 85 percent of them qualified for financial assistance, in the form of tax credits, to lower their premiums. Most people chose to have the subsidies paid in advance, based on projected income for 2014. If their actual income was higher — because they got a raise or found a new job — they will be entitled to a smaller subsidy and must repay the difference, subject to certain limits.

“If the advanced premium tax credit amount is too high, the taxpayer could have an unwelcome surprise and owe money,” said Nina E. Olson, the national taxpayer advocate at the Internal Revenue Service.

I already owe plenty of money to the IRS, thanks to freelancing, and totally expect to owe money as a result of participating in the Marketplace. I’m not happy about that, but what the fuck canya do. What troubles me more is this:

Taxpayers normally report income and compute taxes annually. But the health care law is different. Consumers may be subject to tax penalties for any month in which they had neither insurance coverage nor an exemption.

The calculations will be relatively simple if all members of a household had coverage for every month of 2014. They can simply check a box on their tax return. But lower-income people often have changes in employment, income and insurance. If any members of a household were uninsured in 2014, they must fill out a work sheet showing coverage month by month, and they may owe penalties.

To claim tax credits, consumers need to fill out I.R.S. Form 8962, which includes a matrix with 12 rows and six columns — a total of 72 boxes, to compute subsidies for each month. Most taxpayers use software to prepare returns, and that will simplify the process, officials said.

Fill out “a matrix with 12 rows and six columns — a total of 72 boxes, to compute subsidies for each month”?? HAHAHA. That is TO LAUGH. I can barely manage my household on a weekly basis, never mind computing my fucking tax credits. This, my friends, is where the Rube Goldberg device called the Affordable Care Act bites you -and the Democrats- right in the ass. Sure, I love my sort-of-affordable care (even though my premiums shot up by nearly $100/month for 2015, despite having lower income than in 2014). But I don’t love it so much that it counterbalances tax penalties I won’t deserve, having to fill out forms no one will look at, and sit on hold with the de-funded IRS all fuckin’ day.

Single payer would have addressed all this. But we can’t have anything nice in America.

1 comment for “Trouble on the Line

  1. February 3, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Much like other benefit programs, I think that – and I haven’t done this yet – if you have life changes that will effect your subsidy, you just report them and you won’t end up paying the IRS back as much at the end of the year. Of course, if your salary goes up then your monthly premiums would go up, but theoretically you could afford that now that your income has grown. You know if this is right?

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