How Much Is the Obamacare Tax Penalty for 2016 and 2017?
Under the Affordable Care Act, most Americans are required to have health insurance. When you file your taxes in April, you'll have to report whether or not you enrolled by the deadline.
For tax year 2016, that deadline was January 31, 2016. For 2017, you must get covered by January 31, 2017.
If you don't get covered on time and you don't qualify for an exemption, you'll have to pay a penalty when you file your tax return. The official name for this penalty is the individual shared responsibility payment.
Calculating the Obamacare Tax Penalty
The Obamacare tax penalty is calculated according to the number of months you don't have coverage: You'll owe one-twelfth of the annual penalty amount for each month you go without insurance. As long as you have coverage for at least one day of any particular month, you're considered covered for that month. And you're allowed one annual gap of less than three months during which you can avoid a penalty.
For 2016, the penalty is $695 per adult plus $347.50 per child (up to a maximum of $2,085 per family) or 2.5% of annual household income, whichever is greater. You'll make this payment when you file your taxes in April 2017.
For 2017, the percentage will remain steady at 2.5% of family income, but the flat fees will go up in accordance with inflation.
For purposes of determining the penalty, "income" is defined as what your household earns in excess of the income-tax filing threshold. In 2015 (the latest available figures) the threshold was $10,300 for an individual and $20,600 for married couples filing jointly.
Rebecca is a single woman without health insurance who earns $50,000 in 2016. When she files her taxes in April 2017, her tax penalty will be based on $39,700 of her income. ($50,000 minus $10,300 equals $39,700.) Two-and-one-half percent of $39,700 is $992.50. Because that amount is greater than $695, Rebecca's penalty will be $992.50.
As mentioned above, if you have insurance for part of the year, your penalty will be reduced proportionately. And the penalty can never exceed the sum of the national average premium for a bronze policy purchased through the exchange. For 2015, this was $207 per month for an individual up to $1,035 per month for a family with five or more members.
Keep in mind that paying the fee doesn’t get you any kind of health coverage. You will have to pay the entire cost of your medical care on top of any fees that you owe.
The following video from the IRS explains the basics of the Obamacare tax penalty.
Obamacare Tax Penalty for 2016
The following table estimates the Obamacare tax penalty for a single taxpayer who is uninsured for the entire year in 2016. As discussed above, "income" is the amount earned in excess of $10,300, the most recently available income tax filing threshold.
|Annual Income Over $10, 300||2.5% of income||2016 Obamacare Penalty||Per Month|
You can find an online calculator to help you determine your potential tax penalty at the Tax Policy Center.
To learn about what qualifies as health coverage under Obamacare and whether you are exempt, see Do I Have to Get Obamacare in New York?
For information about costs, see How Much Does Obamacare Cost in New York?
For tax help, see Obamacare and Taxes: What You Need to Know Before You File.
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