If you’re about to tie the knot, do you know how a change in marital status could affect the credit you got toward health insurance when you were single? You could end up having to repay a big chunk of the money. Here’s the question and an answer that lays out the way the IRS handles the situation.
Last year, I had single coverage through the marketplace from January through May. Then I got married and canceled my policy because I had coverage through my husband’s job for the rest of the year. When I filed my 2014 taxes, we had to repay half of the premium tax credits for the months when I had a marketplace plan. Why? Those first five months I was single and relying on my own income. Why should my husband’s income be counted
The Internal Revenue Service has a special rule to handle situations like yours when people get married during the tax year. Though not a perfect solution, without it, chances are you would have had to repay even more of your tax credit.
First, though, here’s some background. The premium tax credits that people can qualify for if their income is under 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $46,000 for one person) make coverage purchased on the health insurance marketplace more affordable. Like you, many people opt to receive the credit in advance and have it sent directly to their insurer, which reduces their monthly bill.
The amount of the tax credit is based on your annual household income, which you estimated when you signed up for coverage. At tax time, your estimated income is reconciled against your actual income and, if the estimate was too low, you have you repay the excess, up to a cap.
That’s the situation you found yourself in. However, when people marry during the tax year, the IRS offers an alternative way of calculating household income that for many reduces the excess
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