This past season also was the first in which people who purchased insurance plans from Obamacare marketplaces, and who received a tax credit to help pay for their monthly premiums, were required to file new tax forms that reconcile what they received in subsidies with what they they should have actually received based on their incomes. Almost 90 percent of the more than 6 million Obamacare customers who were covered at the end of last year received such tax credits.
But just 5 percent of subsidized Obamacare customers were estimated to have received the correct amount of money from the federal government. The rest were expected to owe some of the subsidies back to the IRS, or to get even more money from the agency.
Du Val said that out of the 13,000 or so queries TaxAudit.com's clients have received so far from the IRS this year, only slightly more than 1 percent have been about ACA compliance.
"Truthfully, I'm a little surprised it's that low right now," Du Val said. He expected the IRS would be asking questions related to Obamacare of about 3 percent of the company's clients.
Customers are only being questioned by the IRS if they received tax credits to help pay for their Obamacare plan premiums, but failed, for whatever reason, to file a form reconciling the amount of money they received with what they should have gotten, or another form indicating that they or another person on their return did not have coverage for the entire year, he said.
Other people who received subsidies but who filed the required forms have not received queries from the IRS, Du Val said. That's been the case even if their returns relied on 1095-A forms—which detailed how much they got in subsidies over the course of the year—that contained incorrect information.
"We've seen lots of people, the 1095-A is not right, we know it's not right," he said.
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Earlier this year, the Obama administration revealed that hundreds of thousands of 1095-A forms it had sent out to Obamacare plan customers contained errors about the subsidies that people received. The administration said it would not penalize people for having already filed income tax returns based on incorrect 1095-A forms, but also urged people to check to see if they might be eligible for a bigger tax credit it they had done so.
Also not being questioned are people who may have lacked insurance for part of the year, but stated they were insured during the full year, or people who may not be eligible for the exemptions from the coverage mandate that they claimed, Du Val said.
While he is surprised about the low rate of ACA-related questions by the IRS, he is less surprised by the agency's apparent lack of aggression in challenging people, or at least TaxAudit.com customers, on their compliance with the mandate or on the amount of tax credits they received this year.
"It's a big project," Du Val said of the ACA. "There's always going to be errors in something like that."
"My best guess is the IRS isn't set up for it yet."