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Premium Tax Credit information from IRS:

What is the premium tax credit?

The premium tax credit is an advanceable, refundable tax credit designed to help eligible individuals and families with low or moderate income afford health insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Exchange, beginning in 2014. You can choose to have the credit paid in advance to your insurance company to lower what you pay for your monthly premiums, or you can claim all of the credit when you file your tax return for the year. If you choose to have the credit paid in advance, you will reconcile the amount paid in advance with the actual credit you compute when you file your tax return.

How do I get the premium tax credit?

When you apply for coverage in the Exchange, the Exchange will estimate the amount of the premium tax credit that you may be able to claim for the tax year, using information you provide about your family composition and projected household income. Based upon that estimate, you can decide if you want to have all, some, or none of your estimated credit paid in advance directly to your insurance company to be applied to your monthly premiums. If you choose to have all or some of your credit paid in advance, you will be required to reconcile on your income tax return the amount of advance payments that the government sent on your behalf with the premium tax credit that you may claim based on your actual household income and family size.

If you do not opt for advance credit payments, you may claim the credit when you file your tax return for the year, which will either lower the amount of taxes owed on that return or increase your refund.

What happens if my income or family size changes during the year?

The actual premium tax credit for the year will differ from the advance credit amount estimated by the Exchange if your family size and household income as estimated at the time of enrollment are different from the family size and household income you report on your return. The more your family size or household income differs from the Exchange estimates used to compute your advance credit payments, the more significant the difference will be between your advance credit payments and your actual credit. If your actual allowable credit on your return is less than your advance credit payments, the difference, subject to certain caps, will be subtracted from your refund or added to your balance due. If your actual allowable credit is more than your advance credit payments, the difference will be added to your refund or subtracted from your balance due.

Notifying the healthplanfinder about changes in circumstances will allow the healthplanfinder to update the information used to determine your expected amount of the premium tax credit and adjust your advance payment amount. This adjustment will decrease the likelihood of a significant difference between your advance credit payments and your actual premium tax credit. Changes in circumstances that can affect the amount of your actual premium tax credit include:

What is household income?

For purposes of the premium tax credit, your household income is your modified adjusted gross income plus that of every other individual in your family for whom you can properly claim a personal exemption deduction and who is required to file a federal income tax return. Modified adjusted gross income is the adjusted gross income on your federal income tax return plus any excluded foreign income, nontaxable Social Security benefits (including tier 1 railroad retirement benefits), and tax-exempt interest received or accrued during the taxable year. It does not include Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Will I have to file a federal income tax return to get the premium tax credit?

For any tax year, if you receive advance credit payments in any amount or if you plan to claim the premium tax credit, you must file a federal income tax return for that year. If you receive any advance credit payments, you will use your return to reconcile the difference between the advance credit payments made on your behalf and the actual amount of the credit that you may claim. This filing requirement applies whether or not you would otherwise be required to file a return. If you are married, you must file a joint return to be eligible for the premium tax credit.

If I get insurance through the Exchange, how will I know what to report on my federal tax return?

The healthplanfinder will send you an information statement showing the amount of your premiums and advance credit payments by January 31 of the year following the year of coverage. For example, you will receive the 2014 information statement by Jan. 31, 2015, and can use this information to compute your premium tax credit on your 2014 tax return and to reconcile the advance credit payments made on your behalf with the amount of the actual premium tax credit.

How is the amount of the premium tax credit determined?

The law bases the size of your premium tax credit on a sliding scale. Those who have a lower income get a larger credit to help cover the cost of their insurance. In other words, the higher your income, the lower the amount of your credit.

Additionally, the premium tax credit is a refundable tax credit. This means that if the amount of the credit is more than the amount of your tax liability, you will receive the difference as a refund. If you owe no tax, you can get the full amount of the credit as a refund. However, if you receive advance payments of the credit, you will reconcile the advance payments with the amount of the actual premium tax credit that you calculate on your tax return. If your actual allowable credit on your return is less than your advance credit payments, the difference, subject to certain caps, will be subtracted from your refund or added to your balance due. If your actual allowable credit is more than your advance credit payments, the difference will be added to your refund or subtracted from your balance due.

Disclaimer: Washington Health Insurance Exchange is providing the above information for informational purposes only and should not be considered as tax advice. This information and more can be found on the IRS website at www.irs.gov. Always consult a tax professional with regards to your tax questions and how the ACA tax credits affect you.

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