The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is getting a
lot of press these days and I thought this would be a good time to
review some of the provisions that could affect you. While some of the
law's provisions have already taken effect, many of the provisions will
begin taking effect in 2013, 2014, and later years. This is a summary of
some of the more significant individual provisions that may be of
interest to you.
Penalty for Not Maintaining Minimum Essential Coverage
The crux of PPACA is the requirement for almost all individuals to maintain minimum essential healthcare coverage (i.e., the individual mandate). Beginning in January 2014, non-exempt U.S. citizens and legal residents are required to maintain such coverage or be subject to a penalty. Once the penalty is fully phased in, individuals who fail to maintain minimum essential coverage are subject to a penalty equal to the greater of 2.5 percent of household income in excess of the taxpayer's household income for the tax year over the threshold amount of income required for income tax return filing for that taxpayer or $695 per uninsured adult in the household.
The per-adult annual penalty is phased in as follows: $95 for 2014; $325 for 2015; and $695 in 2016. The percentage of income is phased in as follows: 1 percent for 2014; 2 percent in 2015; and 2.5 percent beginning after 2015. If you file a joint return, you and your spouse are jointly liable for any penalty payment.
Premium Assistance Tax Credit
Effective for tax years ending after December 31, 2013, the law creates a refundable tax credit, called the premium assistance credit, for eligible individuals and families who purchase health insurance through an insurance exchange. The premium assistance credit is generally available for individuals (single or joint filers) with household incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level for the family size involved.
Additional Hospital Insurance Tax
Beginning in 2013, the employee portion of the hospital insurance portion of FICA taxes is increased by an additional tax of 0.9 percent on wages received in excess of the threshold amount. This additional tax is on the combined wages of the employee and the employee's spouse, in the case of a joint return. The threshold amount is $250,000 in the case of a joint return or surviving spouse, $125,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return, and $200,000 in any other case.
Unearned Income Medicare Contribution Tax
Beginning in 2013, in the case of an individual, estate, or trust, an additional tax is imposed on income over a certain level. This tax is referred to as the "unearned income Medicare contribution tax." Others have referred to it as a tax on investment income, although it can apply to individuals, estates, and trusts that do not have investment income. For an individual, the tax is 3.8 percent of the lesser of net investment income or the excess of modified adjusted gross income over a threshold amount. The threshold amount is $250,000 in the case of taxpayers filing a joint return or a surviving spouse, $125,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return, and $200,000 in any other case.
In the case of an estate or trust, the tax is 3.8 percent of the lesser of undistributed net investment income or the excess of adjusted gross income over the dollar amount at which the highest income tax bracket applicable to an estate or trust begins.
The new tax does not apply to items that are excludible from gross income under the tax rules, such as interest on tax-exempt bonds, veterans' benefits, and any gain excludible from income when you sell a principal residence.
Increase in Medical Expense Deduction Threshold
For 2013 and later years, the floor for taking a deduction for medical expenses is increased from 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 10 percent of AGI. However, for any tax year ending before January 1, 2017, the floor will be 7.5 percent if the taxpayer or the taxpayer's spouse has reached age 65 before the end of that year.
Beginning in 2013, for a health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) to be a qualified benefit under a cafeteria plan, the maximum amount available for reimbursement of incurred medical expenses of an employee, the employee's dependents, and any other eligible beneficiaries with respect to the employee, under the health FSA for a plan year (or other 12-month coverage period) must not exceed $2,500.
Kenneth Hoffman counsels Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Select Individuals in taking control of their taxes, and businesses. Discover how I can help you overcome your tax and business challenges. To start the conversation or to become a client, call Kenneth Hoffman at (954) 591-8290 Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a no cost consultation, or drop me a note.
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