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Gov't Admits Obamacare Will Make Taxes More Complicated

"...consumers will see some changes to their tax returns..."

The Obama administration acknowledged Thursday that Obamacare will complicate some people's federal tax forms, and said it is preparing to offer a range of resources to help people get through the upcoming tax filing season.

"Starting this year, consumers will see some changes to their tax returns," the Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday. "While the vast majority of tax filers – over three quarters – will just need to check a box on their tax return indicating they had health coverage in 2014, people who have coverage through the marketplaces, or decided not to enroll in coverage, should be aware of some additional steps that will be a part of the tax filing process starting this year."

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell acknowedged that Obamacare will make it harder for some people to file taxes, but says the government will help get people through it.
Image: AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

HHS said people will have questions about how to file their taxes properly, and said the administration is "committed to providing the information and tools tax filers need to understand the new requirements."

"In the coming weeks, the administration will launch additional resources to help consumers prepare for tax filing season, including online tools to help individuals connect with local tax preparation services and determine if they are eligible for an exemption," HHS said.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said millions of people have bought health care through Obamacare marketplaces, and said the "vast majority" received tax credits. Burrell said people who get those subsidies will have to fill out a new tax form, Form 1095-A, to reconcile the aid they got.

For the last several months, Republicans have cited evidence indicating that people may have received too much in subsidies, which could mean some taxpayers end up owing more in taxes than they otherwise anticipated.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the situation may differ from taxpayer to taxpayer, but said the administration would work to clarify all questions as much as possible.

"A fraction of taxpayers will take different steps, like claiming an exemption if they could not afford insurance or ensuring they received the correct amount of financial assistance," Lew said. "A smaller fraction of taxpayers will pay a fee if they made a choice to not obtain coverage they could afford."

"We are working to ensure that whatever their experience, consumers can easily access clear information since this is the first year they will see certain changes to their tax returns," he said.

Both Burwell and Lew provided links to information that is already out there to help taxpayers comply. The IRS has released a packet of information, and HHS has released "3 Tips About Marketplace Coverage & Your Taxes," and a separate paper on how your taxes might be affected if you don't have health coverage.

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