In Iowa, my tax preparer and myself are having trouble figuring out what the penalty would be in this situation. Lets say my wife and I, in 2014, made a combined gross $80k with an AGI of $50k. We have family insurance for us and 3 children. Her 61 yr old father lived with us the whole year and made $0 and is no disabled and had no health care coverage. We wanted to claim him as a dependent. We concluded that the fine for us would be around $500 due to being burdened with his ACA penalty tax. Is this accurate?


Anyone you claim as a dependent is factored into the Shared Responsibility Payment. Being disabled and having no income, he should have qualified for Medicare or Medicaid, those would have counted as Minimum Essential Coverage and allowed you to avoid the fee.

Think of it like this, as part of your shared responsibility you got your family covered so you don't pay the fee for them. You however didn't ensure that your "dependent" (father-in-law) was covered too, therefore you owe the fee for him. We all share the responsibility to make sure everyone who can be is covered, on a personal level that means ensuring dependents are covered, for employers it means ensuring employees are covered, for the state and federal governments it means constructing exchanges, regulating plans, and subsidizing health insurance.

NOTE: You are correct in your logic (didn't double check your math).

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Ashley on

Answer Rating:

Shared responsibility? You mean Communism?

BB on

The poster said the father “wasn’t” disabled. My husband and I have the same problem. We have a 32-year-old son who’s living at home, and he doesn’t work. He’s not disabled. My husband and I have been claiming him as a dependent. Last year, we had to pay a fine for him, because he had no insurance. I told him that he needed to sign up for health insurance on the government insurance site, but I don’t believe he did. Now, my husband and I are looking at a huge fine, which I don’t feel is our fault or our responsibility. Very, very frustrating! on

That is really frustrating. It works like this “families that file together share a plan together and share the fee together”. If you don’t file with the dependent, then you don’t owe the fee. If you do file, then it’s the filers job to make sure everyone in the tax family is sharing a plan. Those who have Medicare, employer coverage, or another type can choose not to share in the family plan.

So likely your son should be sharing your family plan with you. Since I don’t know all the details i’d suggest you calling and finding out your options.

Mike T. on

As Brian has mentioned, there’s probably no reason you have to claim him as a dependent. If you don’t claim him as a dependent, of course, you will lose the benefit of the personal exemption, but that may be preferable to paying the penalty.

Since your son has no income, he is not required to file a tax return, and is therefore exempt from the penalty himself. The penalty only comes into play (for you) because you are claiming him.

Additionally, with no income, he may well qualify for Medicaid!

Jeremy on

Thats the problem…he wont be qualified for any cheap healthcare as he is living in the household with the parents. I’ve been through this. When you go to the marketplace to see what you are eligible for, it was ask who you live with and even their SSNs! Then it will ask for the household income and tell you that you can get plans at 200+$ a month. This has happened to me with my fiance and now we are waiting to get married because once married I am force to her her the insurance which will bring my monthly health insurance to 700$ a month. Or I pay a penalty which is now 120$ a month. This whole ACA is ridiculous and no one can convince me its a good idea. Dont get me wrong…this is great for the poor and/or lazy folks out there but it is criminal and unconstitutional to us hard working successful folks.

Erin on

If you are applying for insurance based on your own income and no one is planning to claim you as a dependent, it doesn’t matter who you live with. You are not required to list anyone in your “household” that isn’t a part of your tax household (yourself and your spouse and your dependents).

Poo Bah on

That is totally bogus. You are making it up dude. The exchange DOES not ask anything at all about whoever else is living with you.

T. B. on

You likely can’t put your son on your own plan because he is over 26. If he has no income, will refer him to the state Medicaid program. Iowa did participate in the Medicaid expansion under the ACA, so you may have luck getting him covered there. If you can’t / don’t get him covered, you need to determine the point at which the tax is bigger than the dependent deduction. That’s when it’s no longer worth it for you to claim him as a dependent.

Delana on

LOL, so you want the benefit / tax deduction for taking care of your dead beat son, but you want the taxpayers to take care of his health? Is that about right? I have a brother who lives with my parents, same situation, in his 40’s and is NOT disabled but doesn’t work. Perhaps you and my parents just both kick out your GROWN ADULTS and they should get a JOB!!! Why should you get the tax benefit when the taxpayers are the ones that end up with the health care bills when he gets sick and runs to the hospital because he has no coverage. Yeah, seen that a time or two. WHY DO YOU THINK OBAMACARE IS SO EXPENSIVE???? BECAUSE ALL THE DEADBEATS WHO DON’T WANT TO WORK STILL WANT HEALTHCARE, AND WE GET TO PAY FOR IT. DUH.

Jax Jackson on

what a b-word!
she said a 61 y/o not a young adult

Jennie on

what a ugly person you are. obamacare is horrible. some people barely make ends meet and the government wants to take that away. This isn’t universal healthcare at all. If you have been at the bottom , seeing things different may revamp your mind. Look at all that have baby after baby and we support that on a daily life.

Kathryn king on

My daughter is in the same situation. It was more beneficial not to claim her on our taxes.

Brian on

I have a son with no income that is 35. It told me I have to pay the greater of 2% of my AGI or $350. So, I end up paying more than I benefit. Decided not to claim him as a dependent.

Philip Cousins on

2% of my AGI is more than I save by being Head of Household claiming my disabled 30 year old son as a dependant. On 12-22-2016, I was told by the county that Covered California would no longer allow my son to get Medi-Cal as of 12-20-2016. I am on Medicare, so I don’t need. Social Security has denied his claim to reinstate his SSI claiming he is no longer disabled. He is as ill as he was when he was receiving SSI, but it was stopped because he had more that $2,000 in savings.

Brian on

Addition to comment above. My employer offers health plans that me and my wife are on, but they only go to age 26, so we can NOT add him. He chooses not to work (waiting for that high paying job that will never happen) in a restaurant or retail

T.B on

If you live in a state that participated in the Medicaid expansion, he may be eligible for coverage under Medicaid.

Janice Sexton on

I think it is wrong to have to pay adult dependents health bills. same happen to me …here i am feeding clothing and housing my 21 year old granddaughter and i am on social security medicare so i called the welfare and tried putting her on but they said she could be covered if she got pregnant…so here i am struggling and Obama is taking a penalty amount from me .like saying i did not do enough i should of paid for her health insurance…this is wrong …I have other bills …my house needs repairs and my teeth need work …We need to do away with Obamacare

Philip Cousins on

I have Medicare so I don’t need to share in the family plan. Up until January 20, 2016, my son had Medi-Cal. He tried to sign up for Covered California on his own, but I am not sure he can. He is 30 years old, disabled, has no income, used to get SSI, but has been denied SSI because he had some money in an account. The money is now below $2,000 and he is just as disabled as he was three years ago when he did get SSI. We have been appealing his case for the past two years. If the court claim he is not disabled, than I am not sure he can get Medi-Cal. He doesn’t want me to have the password to his Covered California account, so how can I be responsible for him being covered? There are only the two of us in the household. He is my tax dependant because he has no income, and can’t work. I hope President Trump can fix this.

Erin on

If your son is your tax dependent then you are responsible for ensuring he has coverage throughout the year. You should go on the Marketplace and get him coverage based on your income. You would include his income if it is over the tax dependent filing threshold of $6,300 (2016) and he would be required to file his own return, but check yes when asked if you are claimed on someones return. You are still responsible for ensuring he has coverage if you plan to claim him in your tax family. You and your son may also both qualify for Medi-cal (which can reduce your out-of-pocket Medicare costs) if you apply together.

Philip Cousins on

Thank God for President Trump!

Philip Cousins on

This statement is from the Covered California Website: “If consumers are enrolled in Medicare, they do not need to do anything with Covered California or anything else related to the new health care law because they are already covered.”

If I have Medicare, do I need to have Covered California for my 30 year old son who is my income tax dependant? He just lost his Medi-Cal because I don’t qualify for Covered California. Do I have to pay a penalty 2.5% of my AGI, or stop claiming him as my dependant if he cannot have Medi-Cal? Social Security has denied his disability. on

You will still need to ensure your tax dependents are covered and can still use Medicaid and the marketplace based off the families taxable income. When they say “you don’t need to do anything” they mean… “you don’t need to do anything regarding your own coverage”. You still are responsible for the dependent be it the fee or providing coverage.

John on

Before computing a shared responsibility payment, I would look for exemptions. I will comment only on 1 (of 17?) – the affordability exemption. With the increase in premiums from 2015 to 2016, I think many families may qualify for this exemption. I (erroneously) thought that a family making 70, 80 or $90,000 should be able to afford coverage. Not necessarily so – if your employer offers no coverage and the lowest cost bronze plan for your household is over 8.13% of household income (usually AGI + nontaxed social security for this test), it is not affordable and no penalty is due. (exemption code A) If offered employer coverage, a different computation is used. If no exemption applies, then you are stuck with the SRP.

Tanya StClair on

What about an adult child that is disabled?

Clark Mildred on

In states that opted out of Obama Care, does the penalty apply to residents in those states that do not have health care?

Z on

So, I am a stay-at-home mom and my boyfriend (father of child) is the provider of our household, our daughter has Medicaid and he has insurance through his work but he is unable to add me to his plan because we are not married and I am not a relative. I am unable to file for Medicaid in my state because I do not meet the criteria to do so (pregnant or disabled). I have also been unsuccessful in finding a healthcare plan for myself that is affordable for our one income household.

We recently discovered that if he files me as a dependent on his taxes, he will be fined for me not having healthcare. After reading this post I understand he could simply not claim me as a dependent and avoid fines but he also doesn’t receive the tax break. Which to me doesn’t seem fair.

I do not, not work because I am lazy or entitled. I had to quit my job to stay at home because childcare is outrageous and it was the most financially feesible thing for our family to do. So we live on one income, with an extremely tight budget and we are basically being punished because of it?

a on

Many people would love to stay home but have to work. Why should you get subsidized by those who work?

Carolyn Lewis on

When you are a stay at home mother you WORK! Work at home! on


Christina on

It is fair because you have made the choices to be in your financial position. The tax consequences are part of those choices. 1) You chose to live a life of a married couple but not be married (hence the reason you are a non-working dependent but not entitled to health benefits) so you can’t get coverage from the income producer, 2) you chose to be a stay at home mom so employer-based coverage again is not available to you 3) you chose to live in a state that does not expand Medicaid. What is really the solution?

You can’t have your cake and eat it too just because you don’t want to get married.

Janette on

I have a question off this question. I live in Florida where Medicaid is not expanded. My adult son, who I had under my health insurance until he aged out, is not working as he is a full-time college student. He applied for Obama Care and it said he needed to apply for Medicaid. He applied for Medicaid and was found ineligible because there is no medicaid expansion in Florida. If I claim him on my taxes as a dependent would I have to pay the penalty?
Fortunately when healthcare has been needed he can go to his PCP who allows him (me) to pay payments. We also have an excellent pharmacist who searches out every discount available when he has to get meds.

Christina on

Review the healthcare penalty exceptions, one of them is because of lack of expansion of Medicaid. Otherwise, you need to see what is available through the marketplace based on your income. Then decide if insurance or the penalty is the way to go.