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Time for ACA advance premium tax credit review

The Republicans still want to repeal Obamacare, or as it's officially known the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They say so every chance they get, be it on Capitol Hill, the campaign trail or in the Party's 2016 official platform.

The Democrats want to extend and, according to that Party's platform, move the 44th president's namesake legislation toward even broader universal health care.

Obama meets with doctors at White House_Pete SouzaPresident Barack Obama meets with doctors at the White House. (Photo by White House photographer Pete Souza)

But until either of those comes to pass, we've got to work with what we've got. And that means coverage requirements and tax breaks to help eligible folks pay for their health care insurance.

And the Internal Revenue Service is reminding folks who are getting advance payments of the ACA's premium tax credit that summer is a great time of the year for a checkup to see if you need to adjust this health-care related tax assistance.

Life changes affect the tax subsidy: The premium tax credit, or PTC, is the tax subsidy that qualifying taxpayers can get to help them pay for their required health care coverage. You have two options when it comes to collecting this credit.

You can pay for your health insurance on your own and then claim the PTC later when your file your tax return.

However, most folks who can claim the PTC get it as an advance credit, meaning that it's paid directly to your insurance provider so that your out-of-pocket policy premiums are lower throughout the year.

Changes in your income or family size, however, could affect your credit. They include such things as:

  • Increases or cuts in your household income
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Gaining or losing eligibility for other health care coverage, provided by either the government or an employer
  • Moving to a different address

When these changes happen, you need to report them to the marketplace where you got your health care coverage. This will help ensure that you don't get too much or too little advance payment of the PTC.

Getting it just right: If you get too much of advance PTC, you'll have to pay it back when your file your return or have it deducted from any refund you might be due.

If, however, you get too little advance PTC, you're paying more out-of-pocket for your monthly health insurance premiums.

The IRS' online Premium Tax Credit Change Estimator can help you estimate how your PTC will change based on any changes to your situation during the year.

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