Robert R. Bliss
Also on DOR website is an affordability calculator to help determine if taxpayers had access to affordable health insurance in 2008
As a result of the state's health care reform law, most Massachusetts residents 18 and older are required to have health insurance for the entire year, if it is affordable for them. Those who do not comply face tax penalties for each month of non-compliance. However, in 2008 there is a grace period permitting lapses in coverage of three consecutive months without penalty. The penalty for those who did not have health insurance in 2008 is a maximum of $76 per month or $912 for the entire year.
In order for taxpayers to document compliance with this requirement, the DOR has created Schedule HC for taxpayers to report if and when they had health insurance. Taxpayers without health insurance for the entire year or with a lapse in coverage of four consecutive months or more need to determine if they had access to affordable health insurance either through an employer, the government or on their own, according to state guidelines. Taxpayers with access to affordable health insurance are subject to the penalty.
For the vast majority of adult tax filers with health insurance, filling out Schedule HC is fairly straightforward. To assist taxpayers, insurance carriers will issue a Form 1099-HC which will provide the taxpayer with detailed information about their coverage. Taxpayers will use this Form to complete the Schedule HC. Insurance carriers will also send the same information electronically to DOR for verification purposes. Form 1099-HC was to be in the mail to taxpayers from insurance carriers no later than Feb. 2.
The new video on DOR's website www.mass.gov/dor is designed to give taxpayers guidance in completing Schedule HC based on their particular health care circumstances. To run the web video on a PC, taxpayers must have the most recent version of Adobe Flash Player available as a free download from the Adobe website.
Also on the DOR website is a Health Care Affordability Calculator developed to assist those who may be subject to the penalty to determine quickly if they had access to affordable health insurance and, if so, the resulting penalty amount. Taxpayers subject to the penalty may appeal if they experienced a hardship in 2008 that prevented them from purchasing health insurance. The determination of whether to allow an appeal is made by the Health Connector, based on standards set in its regulations.
To view the Schedule HC web video or use the online affordability calculator or for more information on the health care requirements, including a list of frequently asked questions, please visit DOR's website at www.mass.gov/dor or click on
Taxpayers can also Blog directly with DOR using Twitter by searching DORMEDIA at http://twitter.com.