H&R Block to field questions about tax implications of ACA

H&R Block Inc. is opening its tax offices nationwide Thursday to answer questions for free about the Affordable Care Act’s impact on taxes this season.

The act, commonly called Obamacare, requires most Americans to have had health insurance in 2014 and provided help covering the costs for those who qualified.

As taxpayers file their 2014 taxes in the coming months, most Americans will need to take some step related to the act. It may be as simple as declaring that they had health coverage throughout 2014, perhaps through their employer.

More will be required of those who did not get coverage or purchased coverage through a government exchange and received a reduced price because of their income.

“Our research indicates that many consumers may be in for a surprise at tax time,” Block’s Tax Institute executive director Kathy Pickering said in an announcement. “Many may get a smaller refund because they had to pay a penalty for being uninsured. Or, the refund is smaller because they had to pay back some of the Advanced Premium Tax Credit.”

The credit was based on an estimate of what the person receiving help would earn throughout 2014. If the person earned more, he would need to repay part of the subsidy. If he earned less, he may receive a larger refund.

Taxpayers who did not have coverage may be eligible for exemptions from the penalty.

H&R Block said its offices will be open from 9 a. m. to 9 p. m. Thursday to offer free advice about the health reform’s impact on taxes. Help will be provided on a first-come, first served basis, and no appointments will be needed.

Tax preparers at H&R Block received specific training about the reform act’s impact on taxes along with their regular tax training for the current filing season.

The company also offers help understanding the Affordable Care Act on its website.