IRS Opens Tax Filing Sooner in 2015
The IRS will open the 2015 tax filing season on Jan. 20, or 11 days sooner than it began accepting returns one year ago.
The start date applies to both paper and electronic returns and was set after Congress renewed a number of “extender” provisions of the tax law that expired at the close of 2013, but have been renewed through the close of 2014.
“We have reviewed the late tax law changes and determined there was nothing preventing us from continuing our updating and testing of our systems,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a prepared statement. “Our employees will continue an aggressive schedule of testing and preparation of our systems during the next month to complete the final stages needed for the 2015 tax season.”
Health Care in 2015
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department are already putting in place resources to provide tax filers with the information and resources needed to get their questions answered, especially as they pertain to the Affordable Care Act and the use of health insurance marketplaces.
Although more than three-quarters of 2015 filers will need only check a box on their return indicating they had health coverage in 2014, those who took the marketplace route or opted not to enroll in coverage at all will need to take additional steps to complete their returns. For instance, those with marketplace coverage will receive the new Form 1095-A in the mail that they will use to reconcile their up-front financial assistance.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew explained the nuances in a prepared statement:
“For the vast majority of Americans, tax filing under the Affordable Care Act will be as simple as checking a box to show they had health coverage all year. A fraction of taxpayers will take different steps, like claiming an exemption if they could not afford insurance or ensuring they received the correct amount of financial assistance,” Lew said, adding, “A smaller fraction of taxpayers will pay a fee if they made a choice to not obtain coverage they could afford. We are working to ensure that whatever their experience, consumers can easily access clear information since this is the first year they will see certain changes to their tax returns.”