The IRS has informed taxpayers and practitioners that it will not accept electronically filed 2017 tax returns that fail to address the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) health coverage requirements. In addition, paper returns that don’t indicate health coverage may be suspended pending the receipt of additional information, and any refunds may be delayed. As such, taxpayers must indicate whether they and everyone on their return had minimum essential coverage, qualified for an exemption, or are making an individual shared responsibility payment for 2017.
In the past filers could leave the question regarding health coverage blank and the IRS would still accept and process the return. Now going forward, remaining silent on health care coverage will delay return processing and refund issuance if applicable.
Full statement reproduced below:
IRS Statement on Health Care Reporting Requirement
For the upcoming 2018 filing season, the IRS will not accept electronically filed tax returns where the taxpayer does not address the health coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The IRS will not accept the electronic tax return until the taxpayer indicates whether they had coverage, had an exemption or will make a shared responsibility payment. In addition, returns filed on paper that do not address the health coverage requirements may be suspended pending the receipt of additional information and any refunds may be delayed.
To avoid refund and processing delays when filing 2017 tax returns in 2018, taxpayers should indicate whether they and everyone on their return had coverage, qualified for an exemption from the coverage requirement or are making an individual shared responsibility payment. This process reflects the requirements of the ACA and the IRS’s obligation to administer the health care law.
Taxpayers remain obligated to follow the law and pay what they may owe at the point of filing. The 2018 filing season will be the first time the IRS will not accept tax returns that omit this information. After a review of our process and discussions with the National Taxpayer Advocate, the IRS has determined identifying omissions and requiring taxpayers to provide health coverage information at the point of filing makes it easier for the taxpayer to successfully file a tax return and minimizes related refund delays.