Taxpayers Following ACA Rules, Refunds Take a Hit
H&R Block, February 24, 2015
So far in the 2015 tax season, H&R Block (NYSE: HRB), the world’s largest consumer tax services provider, is seeing a majority (52 percent) who enrolled in insurance via the state or federal Marketplaces paying back a portion of the Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC). The average amount paid back is $530, decreasing the tax refund on average by 17 percent, according to analysis almost six weeks into the 2015 tax season.
The average tax penalty for not having insurance was $172, an indication that most taxpayers are paying more than the flat-fee of $95 per uncovered adult penalty many consumers anticipated.
“The level of payback of the Advance Premium Tax Credit is significant in that it’s costing taxpayers a large percentage of their refund – a refund many of them count on to pay household expenses,” said Mark Ciaramitaro, vice president of H&R Block health care and tax services.
For next tax filing season, it is important to note that the base penalty will increase to the greater of $325 or 2 percent of household income for 2015.
By Don McCanne, MD
So far, 52 percent of those receiving a tax credit last year to help pay their premiums for the ACA exchange plans are having to pay back an average of $530 – certainly an unpleasant surprise for individuals subsisting on modest budgets.
Fortunately, for most individuals that repayment will be through a reduction in their tax refunds rather than an additional payment to be made from funds on hand. Nevertheless, many people look forward to receiving their tax refunds in order to be able to meet other important expenses.
Under a single payer system, there is no premium to be paid and thus no need for subsidies based on income. It is much simpler and even more equitable to fund the entire system through progressive taxes.