Easing tax penalties of Affordable Care Act

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The deadline for signing up for health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act without incurring a tax penalty passed March 31, 2014. However, if you missed the deadline, you still can avoid or minimize tax penalties on your 2014 tax return.

Nonexempt individuals who don’t have health insurance that’s judged to be “adequate” by the health-care law’s standards in 2014 will receive a tax penalty. According to the government’s health-insurance website, that penalty is the higher of two calculations: Either 1 percent of your taxable income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to a maximum of $285.

Anyone who missed the deadline still should enroll as soon as possible, says Harry Miller, who specializes in tax practices at Burns & Levinson. That’s because some people might qualify for a waiver of the tax penalty because of a hardship, such as eviction. The complete list of hardships is at healthcare.gov/exemptions/. You also might qualify for an exemption if your insurance policy was canceled because of the health-care law. President Barack Obama’s administration announced in March 2014 that, for such cancellations, policyholders are exempt from the mandate to purchase insurance through 2015.