Uninsured Individuals Prepare to Pay Penalties on 2014 Income Tax Returns

Uninsured Individuals Prepare to Pay Penalties on 2014 Income Tax Returns

Zora Asberry

NewsWest 9

Doing your taxes may be trickier this year, especially if you don't have the required minimum coverage health insurance.

Obamacare's individual mandate required that most Americans had to have health insurance by January 1, 2014, but for those who didn't obtain coverage during last year's open enrollment period may have to pay the price this year.

Glenda Bethune, Manager of Sun Loan Company in Odessa, said, "Really it's not as scary as people think. It's just basically the government wants the people to have insurance and they're calling it a penalty if you don't have insurance."

To avoid the fee, you must have minimum essential coverage such as marketplace insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP or an employer-based coverage.

"For the first year, it is a max of $285 based on a comparable income. A husband, wife, two children would be $285. The children would be $47.50 each and $95 each for the adults," Bethune said.

That number is based on a family with two parents and two children but may vary depending on each additional individual in your household without coverage.

"Every person in the household has to be listed, whether they have insurance or not from dates to dates. So if there's six people in the household, that's a lot of extra information that we'll have to put in," Bethune said.

You will pay a flat fee or one percent of your household income depending on which amount is higher. But the fee increases each year that you go without coverage.

"The first year is the $285 max or 1% of your income and then it goes up a little bit for 2016, and then it really goes up substantially for 2017," Bethune said.

If you don't have minimum coverage, you may qualify for an exemption from the penalty.

"There's a lot of exemptions on it, if you're American Indian, some non-citizens are exempt. If you make below a certain amount of money, you're exempt. So it's a lot of things that we have to know in order to let the public know," Bethune said.

Income tax season starts on January 20, 2015. For more information on penalties and exemptions on your tax return this year, you can visit