Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Surprising Tax Preparation Tips

        Money | Taxes

8
Medical Care
Depending on your situation, you might not have to pay a penalty, even if you don’t have health coverage. © stonerivermedia/iStockphoto
Depending on your situation, you might not have to pay a penalty, even if you don’t have health coverage. © stonerivermedia/iStockphoto

The Affordable Care Act requires you and everyone in your family to have qualifying health insurance, called minimum essential coverage. As an alternative, you can apply for and receive an exemption from the penalty for not having health insurance. You may qualify for an exemption for many reasons, including if you were uninsured for less than three months during the year, if your coverage would cost more than 8 percent of your household income or if you're a member of a federally recognized tribe, health care sharing ministry or religious sect that objects to insurance [source: HealthCare.gov].

If you don't qualify for an exemption, you will have to pay a penalty when filing a tax return. For 2014, the penalty, known as the individual shared responsibility payment, is generally the greater of 1 percent of your household income, or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, with a per-family cap of $285 [source: IRS Affordable].

If you don't have health care coverage, visit HealthCare.gov to see whether you can either get it through the health insurance marketplace or qualify for one of the exemptions.