10 things you need to know about Affordable Care Act starting Oct. 1

Many of the changes take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, including a ban on denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, no more annual limits on coverage, and Medicaid expansion in certain states. (Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program won’t be implemented until late March or early April.)
1. What’s the marketplace?
The marketplace, also known as the exchange, will act as an online clearinghouse where residents and small businesses can compare plans and buy insurance. healthcare.gov
2. I have insurance through my employer. What do I need to know?
You’ll still see changes even if you decide to stick with your employer’s insurance plan and don’t purchase coverage on the exchange.
3. I have individual insurance. Now what?
You can continue with your same insurer, but your current plan will most likely change next year to comply with the Affordable Care Act.
4. What are my options?
Plans are divided into four categories: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
5. How much will it cost?
The prices for plans on Michigan’s health exchange won’t become public until Oct.  Examples from major cities
6. Am I eligible for a subsidy?
Americans in certain income levels can apply for tax credits or subsidies to help offset the cost of plans purchased on the health care exchange. healthcare.gov
7. What do the plans cover?
Starting in 2014, all individual and small group health plans must offer certain products and services known as “essential health benefits.
8. How do I apply for coverage and subsidies?
To apply, visit healthcare.gov or call 800-318-2596 starting Oct. 1.
9. Who can help me apply?

The law provides funding for health insurance navigators, which are people or organizations that are trained to help consumers and businesses shop for and purchase insurance on the marketplace.

10. What are the fees if I don’t buy insurance?
The individual mandate kicks in next year, meaning you could have to pay a government fee if you don’t have minimum health coverage.
The fee in 2014 is 1 percent of your annual income or $95 per person, whichever is higher. The fee for uninsured children is $47.50 each, with a maximum of $285 per family.

News about mandatory health insurance under Obamacare.

Considerations for 2013

  • Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace: The open enrollment period to purchase health care coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins Oct. 1, 2013. When you get health insurance through the marketplace, you may be able to get the new advance Premium Tax Credit that will immediately help lower your monthly premium. Learn more at HealthCare.gov.
  • Filing Requirement: If you do not have a tax filing requirement, you do not need to file a 2013 federal tax return to establish future eligibility or qualify for future financial assistance, including the advance Premium Tax Credit to purchase health care coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace. Learn more at HealthCare.gov.
  • W-2 Reporting of Employer Coverage: Certain employers are required to report the value of the health insurance coverage they provide. The value of health care coverage as reported by your employer in box 12 and identified by Code DD on your Form W-2 is not taxable.
  • Itemized Medical Expenses: You can deduct your unreimbursed medical and dental expenses that exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income on your 2013 tax return. The 7.5 percent threshold will remain for those 65 and older for tax years 2013 through 2016.
  • Other ACA Tax Provisions: Additional Medicare TaxPremium Rebate for Medical Loss Ratio,Health Flexible Spending ArrangementsHealth Saving Accounts, and Net Investment Income Tax.

Looking ahead to 2014

  • Premium Tax Credits: If you get your health coverage through the marketplace, you may be eligible for a Premium Tax Credit. You can elect to have the advance credit sent directly to your insurer during 2014, or wait to claim the credit when you file your tax return in 2015. If you choose to have advance payments sent to your insurer, you will have to reconcile the payments on your tax return. Learn More.
  • Individual Shared Responsibility Payment: Starting January 2014, you and your family must either have health care coverage, an exemption from coverage, or make a payment when you file your 2014 tax return in 2015. Learn More.
  • Change in Circumstances: If you are receiving advance Premium Tax Credits to help pay for your insurance coverage, you should report changes such as income or family size to your marketplace. Reporting changes will help to make sure you are getting the proper amount of assistance.
Check the link below and find out if you qualify for a subsidy on your monthly premium.


IRS Provides Tax Relief to Victims of Colorado Storms

WASHINGTON –– The Internal Revenue Service is providing tax relief to individual and business taxpayers impacted by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in Colorado.

The IRS announced today that certain taxpayers in the counties of Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld will receive tax relief, and other locations may be added in coming days following additional damage assessments by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The tax relief postpones certain tax filing and payment deadlines to Dec. 2, 2013. It includes corporations and businesses that previously obtained an extension until Sept. 16, 2013, to file their 2012 returns and individuals and businesses that received a similar extension until Oct. 15. It also includes the estimated tax payment for the third quarter of 2013, which would normally be due Sept. 16.

The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.

Practitioners located in the covered disaster area who maintain records necessary to meet a filing or payment deadline for multiple taxpayers outside the disaster area may contact the IRS to identify such clients using theprocedures described on the IRS website.

Full details, including information on how to claim a disaster loss by amending a prior-year tax return, can be found in IRS.gov. The IRS encourages taxpayers and tax practitioners to monitor the Tax Relief in Disaster Situations in IRS.gov for updates.

Three Tax Scams to Beware of This Summer

Are you thinking about taxes while you’re enjoying the warm summer months? Not likely! But the IRS wants you to know that scammers ARE thinking about taxes and ways to dupe you out of your money.


Tax scams can happen anytime of the year, not just during tax season. Three common year-round scams are identity theft, phishing and return preparer fraud. These schemes are on the top of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” list of scams this year. They’re illegal and can lead to significant penalties and interest, even criminal prosecution.

Here’s more information about these scams that every taxpayer should know.


1. Identity Theft.  Tax fraud by identity theft tops this year’s Dirty Dozen list. Identity thieves use personal information, such as your name, Social Security number or other identifying information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. An identity thief may also use another person’s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund.

The IRS has a special identity protection page on IRS.gov dedicated to identity theft issues. It has helpful links to information, such as how victims can contact the IRS Identity Theft Protection Specialized Unit, and how you can protect yourself against identity theft.


2. Phishing.  Scam artists use phishing to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal or financial information. Phishing scammers may pose as the IRS and send bogus emails, set up phony websites or make phone calls. These contacts usually offer a fictitious refund or threaten an audit or investigation to lure victims into revealing personal information. Phishers then use the information they obtain to steal the victim’s identity, access their bank accounts and credit cards or apply for loans. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. Please forward suspicious scams to theIRS at phishing@irs.gov. You can also visit IRS.gov and select the link “Reporting Phishing” at the bottom of the page.


3. Return Preparer Fraud.  Most tax professionals file honest and accurate returns for their clients. However, some dishonest tax return preparers skim a portion of the client’s refund or charge inflated fees for tax preparation. Some try to attract new clients by promising refunds that are too good to be true.

Choose carefully when hiring an individual or firm to prepare your return. All paid tax preparers must sign the return they prepare and enter theirIRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). The IRS created a webpage to assist taxpayers when choosing a tax preparer. It includes red flags to look for and information on how and when to make a complaint. Visit www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro.