If you did not have health insurance during 2014, you may be subject to a penalty when you file your return. The penalty, known as the shared responsibility payment, is part of the Affordable Care Act that went into effect in 2014. The IRS has recently announced that preparers are informing their clients that they must remit their shared responsibility payment to the preparer in order for the payment to reach the correct party. In reality, the preparers are overstating or fabricating the penalty and pocketing the money the clients submit to them. This leaves clients believing they have settled their tax liability for the year, even though there is still an outstanding balance.
Any payments made for income taxes or for the shared responsibility payment should be made directly to the IRS by check or online via IRS.gov. If a preparer insists that a payment be made directly to them, please notify the IRS by filing Form 14157 – Complaint: Tax Return Preparer.