The Internal Revenue Service says 3.4 million taxpayers reported receiving a total of $12 billion in Affordable Care Act advance premium tax credit subsidies for 2014, when the subsidy program took effect.
The IRS found that 1.5 million taxpayers said they had received too little premium subsidy money. They asked for a total of $1 billion in extra tax credit money, or an average of about $670 each.
Another 1.8 million taxpayers said they had received about $1.4 billion in excess premium subsidy helped. They said they owed the IRS an average of about $790 each.
Back in July 2015, IRS officials said, based on preliminary filing data, that filers who reported they should be getting extra money were seeking an average of about $600 in extra subsidy money. The filers who owed money said they owed the IRS an average of about $800 in extra payments.
About 8.1 million taxpayers said they owed ACA “individual shared responsibility payments,” or penalties for lacking what the IRS classifies as solid health coverage for part or all of the year. They said they owed the government a total of $1.7 billion in penalty payments, or about $210 each.
The government began phasing the penalty system in, for the 2014 plan year, when taxpayers filed 2014 returns in early 2015.
The IRS has published the ACA tax return figures in one section in a report on 2014 individual income tax returns. The IRS has published bits of ACA tax figures before, but this is the start of a flow of comprehensive ACA tax program information.
About half of the higher-income premium tax credit users may have gotten a lump sum back when they filed their 2014 taxes. (Image: Thinkstock)
Income level figures
In another section of the new report, the IRS has broken the ACA tax return item information down by income level.
The IRS found, for example, that the taxpayers most likely to say they had received ACA premium tax credit help in 2014 had $15,000 to $25,000 in adjusted gross income. They received an average of about $3,00 in premium tax credit help each.
Most taxpayers who received premium tax credit help used the option to get the credit ahead of time, to reduce their share of the monthly insurance premium bills while the insurance plan year was still under way.
But about half of the 417,750 filers who received premium tax credits and had adjusted gross income over $50,000 received the premium tax credit in the form of an ordinary tax credit, when they filed their tax returns for 2014, according to IRS data.
Even this new 2014 report lacks information from amended returns, or on the resolution of errors that were corrected after initial processing, officials say in the report.
Drafters of the ACA created the ACA premium tax credit subsidy to help give low-income and middle-income people access to private health coverage, and to make offering health coverage without medical underwriting sustainable, by encouraging healthy people to pay for coverage.
The individual shared responsibility penalty is also supposed to encourage healthy people to sign up for coverage.
Some have questioned how well taxpayers understood or complied with the ACA tax rules in 2014. The new report does not compare actual data from the returns with estimates of what the IRS thinks the figures should be.
Have you followed us on Facebook?