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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > IRS

How will exchanges check your income?

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Public exchange managers will have more than one way to verify income next year.

Officials at the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, the agency running the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchanges, talk about exchange applicant income verification in a new answer to frequently asked questions.

Some PPACA critics suggested the mandate delay would mean the exchanges would have to use the honor system when determining whether consumers could qualify for the new insurance tax credits. The Internal Revenue Service can pay the tax credits in advance, to help consumers buy coverage.

Obama administration officials have been telling Congress the exchanges will have ways to check consumers’ income information in 2014.

See also: Scamming Obamacare harder than you think

CCIIO — pronounced “See-sigh-Oh” — now has come up with a formal description of how exchanges will verify applicants’ income.

Officials said the exchanges normally will use:

  • IRS tax filing data.
  • Social Security household income data.
  • Wage information employers report to Equifax.

If the IRS, the Social Security Administration and Equifax cannot provide data to substantiate the income information a consumer has supplied, the consumer will have to provide an explanation, or additional documentation of income, officials said.

If consumers cannot supply the requested documentation, an exchange will base eligibility decisions on IRS and Social Security data.

If IRS data is unavailable, the exchange will cut off access to the tax credits, officials said.

An exchange will have some flexibility when it comes to asking for extra documentation from individuals not in the Equifax wage database and who report income more than 10 percent below the income levels suggested by IRS and Social Security data.

At the exchanges run by CCIIO, managers will ask for documentation whenever the income applicants report seems to conflict with information from the IRS, the Social Security Administration or Equifax, officials said.

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