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2015 Tax Season News and Due Date: What You Need to Know About Obamacare, IRS.gov, Free Filing and Scams Before You Start

First Posted: Jan 20, 2015 01:20 PM EST
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the nation's 2015 tax filing season along with online services to help taxpayers understand how the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) will affect their taxes and availability for the Free File program. Meanwhile, many states have reported scammers posing as IRS agents in an attempt to steal identities and get money. As a result, we have compiled the best advice to handle these tax issues so that your 2015 tax filing will be a breeze.

Obamacare and Your Tax Return

This year's tax return will include new questions concerning the Affordable Care Act. Taxpayers who have Obamacare with the help of a tax subsidy will need to reconcile the subsidy they received with the estimated earned income for last year, reports San Jose Mercury News.

People who ignored the Affordable Care Act's requirement to obtain health insurance in 2014 will be slapped with a financial penalty unless they qualify for an exemption. For tax year 2014, the minimum penalty will be $95 per person, or 1 percent of modified adjusted gross income. In 2015, the penalty increases to $325 or 2 percent of income.

Tax filers who obtain health insurance from employers or government health plans like Medicare won't have to fill out additional forms because of Obamacare. These people will simply check a box on the tax return indicating they have health coverage.

Free IRS Tax Filing

The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, launched Jan. 16 for taxpayers. The IRS will begin accepting and processing these income tax returns on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced taxpayers can begin preparing their returns using the Free File system using two filing options:

  • Software, offered by IRS' commercial partners to individuals and families with incomes of $60,000 or less; or
  • Online fillable forms, which are the electronic version of IRS paper forms. These are best for people comfortable with filling out their own tax returns.

If you e-file, the simple tax interview will make completing the forms easier.

Beware of IRS-Related Phone Scams

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Nevada residents have received calls from individuals claiming to be IRS employees and threatening legal action if they don't receive payments. 

The phone scams may sound convincing, but real IRS agents don't make threats, according to IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino. Instead, the agency usually mails letters to communicate with government debtors.

If someone claiming to be from the IRS calls soliciting personal information, report IRS-related fraud attempts to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.

Taxpayers have until Wednesday, April 15, to file their 2014 tax returns and pay taxes due.

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