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emc011075, Tax adviser
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 3120
Experience:  IRS licensed Enrolled Agent and tax instructor
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I am 63 years old. Retired in Aug2015. I have not had health

Customer Question

I am 63 years old. Retired in Aug2015. I have not had health insurance since I stopped working. What is the penalty?
Also I am now engaged and will be able to get on my soon to husbands insurance but should we now wait till 2017. If we get married this year should we file married but filing single because of the penalty?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  emc011075 replied 10 months ago.

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to help you.

The penalty depends on your income. There are also several exceptions you may qualify for. You have to prepare your tax return to figure out your penalty. The minimum penalty for 2015 for adult is $325 or 2% of your modified income. The minimum penalty for 2016 for an adult is $695 or 2.5% of your modified income.

If you get married, you do not have to wait for the open enrollment period to apply for insurance through your future husband's insurance. Marriage qualifies as special circumstance.

If you get married before the end of the year, your filing options are married filing jointly or separately (you will not be filing single any more). Once again, you will have to prepare returns both ways to see which options gives you a better refund. While the penalty may reduce your joint refund (or increase what you owe), filing separate may eliminate certain deductions and/or credits. You will have to consider all options, not just the penalty.

Expert:  emc011075 replied 10 months ago.

I see you read my respond. Do you have any questions? Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
If I get married this year will the tax penalty for not having insurance go with just my income for the last year or both of ours.
I don't want him penalized so that's where I decide If I get married this year yet or wait.
Expert:  emc011075 replied 10 months ago.

If you get married before the end of the year, you will be considered married for the entire year and the penalty will be calculated using "household income", meaning your joint income. Unfortunately there's no allocation for pre-marriage and marriage income for that purpose.

On the other hand, if you are combining your income, you are also combining (increasing) your deductions that will lower your joint income for penalty calculation. If your income was low, your deduction may reduce his income and lower the penalty. Once again, you will need to look at the whole picture, the penalty is only a small piece in the entire return puzzle.