The federal health law requires that most people have health coverage. If you were insured through work, bought a plan on the new insurance marketplaces or enrolled in Medicare Part A, Medicaid or Tricare you likely met the requirement and can simply check that box off on your tax form.
If you didn’t have coverage or had it for only part of the year, you need to fill out Form 8965. That lets you claim an exemption or calculate your penalty. That penalty is $95 or 1 percent of your family’s income, whichever is greater.
The law allows some coverage exemptions, like if you didn’t make enough money to have to file a tax return or suffered a financial hardship. See page 2 of the instructions for Form 8965 for the full list.
If you are facing an unexpected penalty for not having insurance, and want to avoid the same penalty for 2015, the government has opened a special enrollment period for you to buy a plan on the marketplace through April 30.
Some people face other unwelcome tax news. If you received federal subsidies to help buy insurance and underestimated your 2014 income, you may have to pay back the government.
How do you figure out if you owe the government money? First, review Form 1095-A, which you received from the marketplace, to find the amount of your 2014 subsidy. Then, transfer that number and fill out Form 8962 to calculate how much you must pay back.