If you moved recently, you've probably notified several organizations - like the U.S. Postal Service and utility companies - about your new address. You may have even notified the IRS about your address change. If you get health insurance coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace, you should add one more important notification to your list; the Marketplace.
If you are receiving advance payments of the premium tax credit, it is particularly important that you report changes in circumstances, including moving, the the Marketplace. There's a simple reason. Reporting your move lets the Marketplace update the information used to determine your eligibility for a Marketplace plan, which may affect the appropriate amount of advance payments of the premium tax credit that the government sends to your health insurer on your behalf.
Reporting the changes will help you avoid having too much or not enough premium assistance paid to reduce your monthly health insurance premiums. Getting too much premium assistance means you may owe additional money or get a smaller refund when you file your taxes. On the other hand, getting too little could mean missing out on monthly premium assistance that you deserve.
Changes in circumstances that you should report to the Marketplace include:
Many of these changes in circumstances - including moving out of the area served by your current Marketplace plan - qualify you for a special enrollment period to change or get insurance through the Marketplace. In most cases, if you qualify for the special enrollment period, you will have sixty days to enroll following the change in circumstances. You can find information about special enrollment periods at HealthCare.gov.
The Premium Tax Credit Change Estimator can help you estimate how your premium tax credit will change if you experience a change in circumstance during the year.
People often change their job in the summer. If you look for a job in the same line of work, you may be able to deduct some of your job search costs. Here are some key tax facts you should know about if you search for a new job:
If you move your home you may be able to deduct the cost of the move on your federal tax return next year. This may apply if you move to start a new job or to work at the same job in a new location. In order to deduct your moving expenses, your move must meet three requirements:
1. Your move must closely relate to the start of work. In most cases, you can consider moving expenses within one year of the date your start work at a new job location. Additional rules apply to this requirement.
2. Your move must meet the distance test. Your new main job location must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your prior job location. For example, let's say that your old job was three miles from your old home. To meet this test, your new job must be at least 53 miles from your old home.
3. You must meet the time test. You must work full-time at your new job for at least 39 weeks the first year after the move. If you're self-employed, you must also meet this test. In addition you must work full-time for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first two years at the new job site. If your tax return is due before you meet the time test, you can still claim the deduction if you expect to meet it.
See Publication 521, Moving Expenses, for more information about the rules.
If you qualify for this deduction, here are a few more tips from the IRS:
See Publication 521 for more examples.
Miscellaneous deductions can cut taxes. These may include certain expenses you paid for in your work if you are an employee. You must itemize deductions when you file to claim these costs. So if you usually claim the standard deduction, think about itemizing instead. You might pay less tax if your itemize. Here are some IRS tax tips you should know that may help you reduce your taxes:
Deductions Subject to the Limit. You can deduct cost miscellaneous costs only if their sum is more than two percent of your adjusted gross income. These include expenses such as:
Deductions Not Subject to the Limit. Some deductions are not subject to the two percent limit. They include:
There are many expenses that you can't deduct. For example, you can't deduct personal living or family expenses. You claim allowable miscellaneous deductions on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. For more about this topic see Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions.
If you get your health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for the premium tax credit.
Here are some basic facts about the premium tax credit.
What is the premium tax credit?
The premium tax credit is a credit designed to help eligible individuals and families with low or moderate income afford health insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
The Health Insurance Marketplace is the place where you will find information about private health insurance options, purchase health insurance, and obtain help with premiums and out-of-pocket costs if you are eligible. Learn more about the Marketplace at HealthCare.gov.
How do I get the premium tax credit?
When you apply for coverage in the Marketplace, the Marketplace will estimate the amount of the premium tax credit that you may be able to claim for the tax year, using information you provide about your family composition and projected household income. Based upon that estimate, you can decide if you want to have all, some, or none of your estimated credit paid in advance directly to your insurance company to be applied to your monthly premiums. If you choose to have all or some of your credit paid in advance, you will be required to reconcile on your income tax return the amount of advance payments that the government sent on your behalf with the premium tax credit that you may claim based on your actual household income and family size.
What happens if my income or family size changes during the year?
The actual premium tax credit for the year will differ from the advance credit amount estimated by the Marketplace if your family size and household income as estimated at the time of enrollment are different from the family size and household income you report on your return. The more your family size or household income differs from the Marketplace estimates used to compute your advance credit payments, the more significant the difference will be between your advance credit payments and your actual credit.
If you use your home for business, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. If you qualify you can claim the deduction whether you rent or own your home. If you qualify for the deduction you may use either the simplified method or the regular method to claim your deduction. Here are six tips that you should know about the home office deduction.
1. Regular and Exclusive Use. As a general rule, you must use a part of your home regularly and exclusively for business purposes. The part of your home used for business must also be:
2. Simplified Option. If you use the simplified option, you multiply the allowable square footage of your office by a rate of $5. The maximum footage allowed is 300 square feet. This option will save you time because it simplifies how you figure and claim the deduction. It will also make it easier for you to keep records. This option does not change the criteria for who may claim a home office deduction.
3. Regular Method. If you use the regular method, the home office deduction includes certain costs that you paid for your home. For example, if you rent your home, part of the rent you paid may qualify. If you own your home, part of the mortgage interest, taxes and utilities you paid may qualify. The amount you can deduct usually depends on the percentage of your home used for business.
4. Deduction Limit. If your gross income from the business use of your home is less than your expenses, the deduction for some expenses may be limited.
5. Self-Employed. If you are self-employed and choose the regular method, use Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, to figure the amount you can deduct. You can claim your deduction using either method on Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business. See the Schedule C instructions for how to report your deduction.
6. Employees. If you are an employee, you must meet additional rules to claim the deduction. For example, your business use must also be for the convenience of your employer. If you qualify, you claim the deduction on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.
For more on this topic, see Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.
If you purchase Health Coverage through the Marketplace, you might be eligible for the premium tax credit. The law bases the size of your premium tax credit on a sliding scale. Those who have a lower income get a larger credit to help cover the cost of their insurance. In other words, the higher your income, the lower the amount of your credit.
You will figure your credit on Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC). You must complete this form to claim the premium tax credit and reconcile any advance credit payments with the premium tax credit you are eligible to claim on your return. Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, which you will receive from your Marketplace, provides information you will need when completing Form 8962.
Additionally, the premium tax credit is a refundable tax credit. This means that if the amount of the credit is more than the amount of your tax liability, you will receive the difference as a refund. If you owe no tax, you can get the full amount of the credit as a refund.
However, if you receive advance payments of the credit, you will reconcile the advance payments with the amount of the actual premium tax credit that you calculate on your tax return. If your actual allowable credit on your return is less than your advance credit payments, the difference, subject to certain caps, will be subtracted from your refund or added to your balance due. If your actual allowable credit is more than your advance credit payments, the difference will be added to your refund or subtracted from your balance due.
Did you pay for college in 2014? If you did it can mean tax savings on your federal tax return. There are two education credits that can help you with the cost of higher education. The credits may reduce the amount of tax you owe on your tax return. Here are some important facts you should know about education tax credits.
American Opportunity Tax Credit:
The Child Tax Credit may save you money at tax-time if you have a qualified child. Here are six things you should know about the credit.
1. Amount. The Child Tax Credit may help reduce your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child that you are eligible to claim on your tax return.
2. Additional Child Tax Credit. If you qualify and get less than the full Child Tax Credit, you could receive a refund even if you owe no tax with the Additional Child Tax Credit.
3. Qualifications. For this credit, a qualifying child must pass several tests:
• Age test. The child must have been under age 17 at the end of 2014.
• Relationship test. The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister. The child may be a descendant of any of these individuals. A qualifying child could also include your grandchild, niece or nephew. You would always treat an adopted child as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
• Support test. The child must not have provided more than half of their own support for the year.
• Dependent test. The child must be a dependent that you claim on your federal tax return.
• Joint return test. The child cannot file a joint return for the year, unless the only reason they are filing is to claim a refund.
• Citizenship test. The child must be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national or a U.S. resident alien.
• Residence test. In most cases, the child must have lived with you for more than half of 2014.
4. Limitations. The Child Tax Credit is subject to income limitations. The limits may reduce or eliminate your credit depending on your filing status and income.
5. Schedule 8812. If you qualify to claim the Child Tax Credit, make sure to check whether you must complete and attach Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, with your tax return. For example, if you claim a credit for a child with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, you must complete Part I of Schedule 8812. If you qualify to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit, you must complete and attach Schedule 8812.
The Affordable Care Act includes financial assistance in the form of the premium tax credit for eligible taxpayers with moderate incomes who purchase coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
When you purchased coverage for 2014 through the Marketplace, you may have chosen to have the government send advance payments of the premium tax credit to your insurer to lower your monthly insurance premiums. At that time, the Marketplace estimated these credits based on information you provided about your expected household income and family size for the year.
If you chose to have advance credit payments sent to your insurer, you must file a federal income tax return, even if otherwise not required to file. You will need to reconcile these payments with the amount of premium tax credit you’re eligible for on your tax return. Receiving too much or too little in advance can affect your refund or balance due when you file.
For example, if you had certain life changes during the year and notified the Marketplace, the Marketplace should have adjusted the amount of the advance credit payments sent to your insurer accordingly. If you did not notify the Marketplace about these life changes, the advance credit payments may have been either too high or too low.
Advance credit payments that are lower than the amount of premium tax credit on your tax return will reduce your tax bill or increase your refund.
On the other hand, if your advance credit payments are more than the premium tax credit you are eligible for based on your actual income, you will need to repay the excess amount, subject to certain caps. This will result in a smaller refund or a larger bill when you file your return. The repayment amount is based on your household income and family size. For more information on the repayment if your household income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty line, the repayment amount is limited. Taxpayers with household incomes of 400 percent or more of the federal poverty line must repay all of the excess amount. See the instructions for Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC) for more information on the federal poverty line amounts.
Normally, taxpayers may owe certain penalties for late payments or underpayment of estimated tax. However, to help smooth the process for the first year of the Affordable Care Act, the IRS will waive these penalties for eligible taxpayers if they resulted from repayment of excess advance payments of the premium tax credit. This has no effect on the fee individuals will pay if they chose not to buy affordable health coverage.
You must complete Form 8962 to claim the premium tax credit and reconcile your advance credit payments with the premium tax credit you are eligible to claim on your return. You should receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement from your Marketplace by early February. This form provides information you will need when completing Form 8962. If you have questions about the information on Form 1095-A for 2014, or about receiving Form 1095-A for 2014, you should contact your Marketplace directly.