Forms you need to file
Under the Affordable Care Act, everyone needs to have insurance. When you file your taxes, you prove that you had insurance by submitting a form. If you were enrolled in health insurance during 2015, you will receive one or more copies of a 1095-A, B or C. (Read about those forms here.) Your 1095 forms will be mailed in early February. You can also find your 1095-A in your Marketplace account in your messages. These forms are filled out by the Marketplace, your employer, or Medicaid. Don't fill it out yourself--if you think the information is wrong, you can get a corrected form.
If you take your tax information to a tax preparer, bring those forms with you. If you prepare your own tax forms, you will need those forms to file your taxes.
If you had employer coverage or coverage through public insurance like Medicaid or Medicare, you simply provide those forms when you file your taxes. If you got health coverage through the Marketplace, it is a different story.
Reconciling Tax Credits
If you received tax credits to help pay your health insurance premiums, then you paid part of your health insurance costs and the government paid part of your health insurance costs.
At the end of the year you reconcile your tax credits when you file your taxes. You will need Form 8962 and your 1095-A. Remember when you enrolled in Marketplace insurance, you agreed to file taxes and reconcile the income reported on your application with your actual income on your tax return.
As can be seen in the example above, you get Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTCs) when you do your application for health insurance on the Marketplace. At the end of the year, you take a look back. If you estimated correctly on your income, your Advance Premium Tax Credits turn into Premium Tax Credits, and you don't owe anything, but you also don't get anything back. If you estimated low (and end up making more money), you may owe back some of those tax credits. If you estimated your income high (and don't do as well financially), you may get some additional Premium Tax Credits. This reconciliation, as it is called, happens with the help of Form 8962.
You only need to reconcile tax credits for the months where you had APTCs. If, for instance, you had employer coverage the first half of the year, and Marketplace coverage the second half of the year, you will indicate that on your taxes, but you will only reconcile your APTCs for the second half of the year.
One more caveat--if you don't reconcile your tax credits, then you won't be able to get Advance Premium Tax Credits on the Marketplace next year.
Coming soon: How to get tax help
--M. Buhalis and R. Kraut