IRS: We’ll Trust You on Health Insurance for 2015 Because…

Earlier today I saw a tweet from Joe Kristan:

The delay didn’t surprise me; I felt that given this was the first year that Form 1095-B and 1095-C were required that there would be issues. But I felt that taxpayers would eventually need to provide the forms to tax professionals.

I was wrong.

From Notice 2016-04:

Similarly, some individual taxpayers may be affected by the extension of the due date for providers of minimum essential coverage to furnish information under section 6055 on either Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C. Individuals generally use this information to confirm that they had minimum essential coverage for purposes of sections 36B and 5000A. Because, as a result of the extension, individuals may not have received this information before they file their income tax returns, for 2015 only individuals who rely upon other information received from their coverage providers about their coverage for purposes of filing their returns need not amend their returns once they receive the Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C or any corrections. Individuals need not send this information to the Service when filing their returns but should keep it with their tax records. [emphasis added]

Do note that taxpayers aren’t getting a complete free ride here. The IRS reserves the right to challenge taxpayers who say they had coverage but didn’t (which is why the notice states to keep the information with the tax returns). However, given that the IRS can’t force taxpayers to pay penalties regarding health insurance coverage, it’s possible the IRS won’t be looking at this for 2015.

This is good news for tax professionals and taxpayers in another regard. We won’t have delays regarding filing returns because taxpayers haven’t received Forms 1095-B or 1095-C as long as they’re aware of their health insurance coverage. That’s a very good thing for all.

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