New individual IRS requirement for reporting health coverage

Beginning with the 2018 reporting year, the IRS will not accept individuals' returns missing health coverage information on their 2017 federal tax returns. In October 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released guidance that individuals must now answer questions about health coverage on their federal tax return.

For the 2018 reporting year, individuals must indicate whether they had the following information on their 2017 federal tax returns:

  • Had minimum essential coverage (MEC) for the year;
  • Qualified for an exemption from having health coverage; or
  • Are paying the individual shared-responsibility payment.

The 2017 tax year is the first time the IRS will not accept tax returns that do not include the above information.

If individuals do not provide the information:

  • Electronic returns will not be accepted until the information is provided.
  • Paper returns may be suspended and any refund delayed until the IRS receives the additional information.

Employers may want to make sure their employees are aware of their need to fully complete their tax return with the MEC information. Although those filing taxes are not required to attach the 1095 Form to their federal tax return, it is possible the employee or tax preparer will be looking for the 1095-B or 1095-C form to prepare their tax return.

The IRS has released information to tax professionals and to individual taxpayers.