Are You Eligible for an Exemption? What to do Next Under the Affordable Care Act

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Americans who do not have health coverage may qualify for an exemption from the tax penalty for being uninsured as required by the Affordable Care Act.

The tax penalty for 2014 is $95 per person and $47.50 per child (capped at $285 for families) or 1 percent of your taxable household income – whichever amount is larger.

Determining if you’re exempt from the penalty will make filing your 2014 taxes easier. Here’s what you need to know .

Do I qualify for an exemption? The federal government has identified more than 30 ways to qualify for an exemption, including hardship cases. Check out the IRS free online tool to determine if you’re eligible for an exemption. A complete list of exemptions is available at

How can I claim an exemption? Some exemptions can be claimed directly through your tax return, however you need to apply for the majority of them through your state’s or federally-run Health Insurance Marketplace, depending on the type of health coverage exemption you’re seeking.

Some of the reasons you can claim an exemption directly on your federal tax return are if you’re applying based on coverage affordability, membership in a shared health ministry or a federally recognized Native American tribe, or incarceration.

What’s an exemption certificate number?

Many other exemptions, including hardship cases, require filing a paper application and supporting documents to the Marketplace for an “exemption certificate number” (ECN) to list on your federal income tax return. It could take several weeks to receive an ECN from the Marketplace, so it’s best to apply as soon as possible.

Can I file my taxes without an exemption certificate number?

You can file your taxes without an exemption certificate number. If the Marketplace hasn’t processed your application before you file your tax return, you can enter “pending” on the exemption form.

Have more questions about exemptions and how the Affordable Care Act impacts your taxes and finances? TurboTax has you covered.  Get your questions answered at TurboTax Health.


Magaly Olivero
Magaly Olivero

Written by Magaly Olivero

Magaly Olivero is an award-winning writer and has written for many national and regional media outlets, as well as corporate and nonprofit clients in the healthcare, tax and education industries. Her publishing credits include U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, The New York Times, Working Woman, Better Homes and Gardens and the Connecticut Health Investigative Team. Magaly is a recipient of a National Journalism Fellowship from the University of California Annenberg School of Communication and a Health Coverage Fellowship from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

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