Happy new tax year! Now that celebrations are over, its time to start planning for the year ahead. Taxpayers who do not have insurance, or are unsure if they will meet the Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) requirements of the Affordable Care Act, should start by addressing this issue. In the 2014 tax year, the shared responsibility penalty for not having MEC was the greater of: $95 per adult ($47.50 if under 18) or 1% of income (less the filing threshold for your filing status). However, beginning this year, the penalty rises dramatically to the greater of: $325 per adult ($162.50 if under 18) or 2% of income (less the filing threshold for your filing status).
If you are unsure how this penalty will affect your situation, visit this helpful tax calculator site. The calculator will help you determine the total penalty compared to the cost of basic MEC. I found this to be a good tool for planning purposes, but I would not rely on something like this alone. Many taxpayers will qualify for the Premium Assistance Tax Credit based on their income threshold. Before making a decision about health care, it is best to speak to your tax professional to discuss all of your options.