It's tax filing season and like every year there are some changes to the system, particularly regarding the Affordable Health Care Act.
Open enrollment for universal health care ended on Feb. 15th and personal income tax filings are the next part to take care of, whether you have coverage or not.
"It's going to impact every individual who files at 2014 federal return," said Steve Slater, managing director at the accounting firm UHY Advisors NY.
The IRS is estimating 75% of Americans have coverage this tax season, he said.
Here's what you need to know:
If you're covered
There will be a box to check off when you file your income tax that says that you have coverage. If you filed for insurance through the federal marketplace, you should have received a 1095-A form at the end of January.
This form provides your estimated income, what you paid for health care and information on your health insurance subsidies. If you received subsidies, you will need to file a Premium Tax Credit form 8962.
However, if your subsidies didn't fit your income this year, "now comes the day of reckoning," Slater said.
If your income was higher than the subsidies were adjusted for, you will owe money.
If it was lower and you are owed money, you can file for an advance premium tax credit, which would pay the money you owe to your insurance company which will deduct it from your premium.
You can instead file for a premium tax credit, which will add the money you're owed to your tax return.
There's a chance that your premium advance tax credit was paid to your insurance company already, which will be noted in your 1095-A form.
If this is all complicated for you, "don't freak out," recommended Vincent Cervone, a Certified Public Accountant based out of Marine Park.
"This is the first year they're doing this so I'm sure there are going to be a lot of mistakes," he said. "As long as you answer correctly, you're not messing anything up."
In the end, your insurance company is going to make sure your information is correct, Cervone added.
If you aren't covered
Under federal law for the 2014 tax filing season, the penalty for not obtaining coverage is whichever's greater: $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, or 1% of your income above the filing threshold, which is $10,050 for a single person and $20,300 for a married couple. This is known as the shared responsibility payment.
An uninsured family of four, Slater said for example, would have to pay a minimum of $285, but that could rise to $597 if the family's income is $80,000.
But if you say you had coverage and didn't, you won't get away with it, Cervone warned.
"If you lie, of course they're going to catch you," and you'll owe the fine, he said. "Within a year and a half to three years, they'll catch you."
If you don't have health coverage, you may qualify to be exempt from the penalty.
Basically, "if you can't find affordable health care, you will not be penalized," Slater said.
Affordable health care this year is defined as coverage that costs less than 8% of your household's adjusted income.
Other occurances that can make you exempt are if you paid a large medical bill this year, or if you've been caring for a sick, elderly or disabled family member. Those who experienced a death in their family, suffered eviction or foreclosure, or filed for bankruptcy may also qualify for an exemption.