New Report on the Implications of the Affordable Care Act Released by The Tax Institute at H&R Block
H&R Block – We’re here to Helpth
The Tax Institute at H&R Block Releases Findings of Affordable Care Act Health Care Engagement Tour
By Kathy Pickering
Helpth. It’s not a typo, it’s our effort to help consumers better understand how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) –– affects them and their taxes. As one of the largest tax code change in 20 years, the ACA has created a new intersection between health care and taxes.
At H&R Block we have a strong history of looking at life through the tax lens, helping our clients maneuver through complicated federal regulations in a practical way. Now, with the December 23 deadline to enroll for insurance – and to avoid a tax penalty – quickly approaching, our task is no different.
As part of our commitment to leading the conversation and education on the tax implications of the ACA, today we submitted comments for the record to the Senate Small Business Committee, helping to share our knowledge of all the challenges consumers and small businesses are facing under the ACA.
Our efforts in this area began years ago when we started to look ahead to the part of the law that requires most Americans to have health insurance in 2014 and we asked ourselves, “How is this going to affect taxpayers?” and, “How can we help?”
We knew our customers would have questions and that we would need to have answers. So we began by conducting research through The Tax Institute at H&R Block which conducted a nationwide series of panel discussions focused on understanding what policymakers, state administrators, small business owners and taxpayers should understand about how the new health care law affects them.
Conducted in partnership with, and moderated by Bloomberg Government, these conversations brought together thought leaders from the government, the private sector, non-profit groups and academia to talk about challenges and opportunities facing those who will navigate the new system.
The tour was bookended by Tax Institute/ORC International consumer opinion surveys that found little movement during last tax season in the understanding of what it takes to financially qualify for health insurance tax subsidies or that that your 2012 tax return could be used as a baseline for determining eligibility for the credit.
The survey also found that while most people were familiar with the requirement to obtain insurance, 44% percent of respondents age 18-34 were not aware that they may face a tax penalty if they fail to obtain insurance.
The findings told us that there was a real need to educate consumers on the tax implications of this monumental law and that implementing the ACA was still a work in progress. We also found that strong partnerships would be essential in helping consumers find the best solutions for them.
Now, with the December 23 enrollment deadline quickly approaching, H&R Block’s Helpth platform is one tool consumers can use to understand the implications on a more personal level. www.Helpth.com addresses the concerns we heard about during our panel discussions last winter. It includes answers to frequently asked questions, a step-by-step guide to the enrollment process, personalized tax calculators and live assistance from experience experts.
Our work isn’t done. With a new tax season about to launch we’ll continue to listen and Helpth in any way we can.
The Tax Institute at H&R Block Reports:
Understanding the Implications of the Affordable Care Act: Enrollment, Education and Taxes
Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block speaks at an event on the tax implications of health care reform, on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in Washington, D.C., kicking off a multi-city engagement tour hosted by The Tax Institute at H&R Block examining the effects of the Affordable Care Act on consumers, small businesses and the uninsured.
Former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), second from right, speaks on a panel addressing the tax implications of health care reform, also including, left to right, Professor Mark Pauly, Paul Keckley, and Sister Carol Keehan and moderator Megan Hughes, far right, on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in Washington, D.C. at the first event held as part of the engagement tour.