What to Do With Line 61 if You Didn’t Have Coverage
If you didn’t have coverage, going silent on line 61 is an option (not checking line 61). Don’t attest to coverage unless you had it. This is the loophole for the ObamaCare fee.
Trump’s order allows you to file a “silent return,” and the IRS has said they won’t reject it. TIP: This “silent option” only makes sense if you didn’t have coverage and would owe the fee. If you had coverage, got cost assistance, or qualified for an exemption, then you should follow the directions for line 61 and file the 8962 and 8965 forms respectively.
The ACA is still the law of the land and attesting that you had coverage when you didn’t is lying.
You don’t want to lie on an official document, so if you didn’t have coverage in 2016, and you don’t want to pay the fee on your 2017 tax return filed by April 18th, 2017 (or later if filing late), you should seek an exemption or do nothing. Leaving line 61 blank is OK, but don’t lie and check the box on line 61 if you didn’t have coverage.
This may still result in the fee down the road, but the IRS will process your return. This was the case in 2014 as well, but was not the case in 2015 and 2016.
TIP: The IRS is limited in the ways they can collect the fee under Trump’s executive orders, but the law is still the law. It is a bit of a gamble, but this is the one and only ObamaCare individual mandate loophole. You are welcome 😀
Clarification: The IRS can’t send you to jail for not paying the fee. That has always been a myth.
See: Trump Executive Order on the ObamaCare Mandates (the Fees) Explained for more details.