Will Your Taxes Be More Complicated This Year?
There’s been a lot of buzz already in 2015 about how complicated it will be to file taxes thanks to the new requirement to prove you have enough mandatory health insurance coverage. (There’s also buzz about how the IRS isn’t staffed well enough at their help centers to handle all of the questions, but we won’t get into that today.)
Why is filling out taxes going to cause a bigger headache for most Americans, and will the typical military family need a jumbo-sized bottle of aspirin to survive?
If you are active duty military, you will probably escape the headache pretty easily.
The good news is that all the ways that make this tax season especially confusing for most of America don’t really apply to the active duty military. That’s because troops and almost all of their dependents have coverage through Tricare. Long before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, started requiring everyone to have a certain level of health care coverage.
You still have slightly different requirements this year, though.
Like every other tax-filing American, Tricare users will need to “self-identify” on their tax forms as having the minimal required coverage. There are three versions of the basic 1040 federal income tax return: the 1040EZ, the 1040A, and the regular 1040. Each form has a line that says Health Care: individual responsibility (see instructions), and then the words Full-year coverage and then a box. IF you had an acceptable forms of Tricare for the entire 2014 calendar and tax year, then you just check the box and you are done.
What are the acceptable forms of Tricare? Any of these:
- Tricare for Life
- Uniformed Services Family Health Plan
- Tricare Young Adult
- Tricare Reserve Select
- Tricare Retired Reserve
Minimum required coverage is also provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to those who are enrolled with the VA for health care, and for those who are enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA.)
Dependent parents and parents-in-law using Tricare under their active-duty military children’s plans are the only users whose Tricare plans DON’T meet that requirement. Because they use Tricare on a space-available basis, it doesn’t meet the rule for minimum coverage. They need to buy other coverage or pay a fine starting next year. For this year, however, they are covered under an exemption (which can be claimed by filing Form 8965.)