Travel Exemption Over Multiple Years?
I am a U.S. citizen currently traveling outside the country. I left the U.S. on October 15th,2014 and will not be returning until September 27th, 2015. I believe this meets the 330 day exemption, but how do I spread this out over 2 years on my tax forms? Do I need to pay the penalty on the 9 months of 2014 that I did not have insurance, even if I was not employed for some of them? Also will I be able to get an exemption for my 2015 taxes since I will have been out of the U.S. for 330+ days by the time I return? Finally, when I do return to the U.S. will I have to wait for open enrollment or will I be able to sign up for Obamacare immediately? Thank you.
You can use any 330 day period outside the US for ObamaCare's travel exemption. This means you can have two exempt periods in the same year of 12 months each. If at any point you are in the country for more than 45 days during the 330 days you aren't exempt. The look-back periods you choose are up to you. If you are out of the country for longer than 12 months you can split it that up until multiple 12 month periods. You can't however have a single period of greater than 12 months claimed in a single year.
Example: 12 months out of country from Oct 2014 to Oct 2015 and then From Sept 2015 to Sept 2016.
In your case you should use October 15th,2014 to Sept 15th, 2015. Here is the trick. You only owe the fee for FULL months. So you can use the 330 day rule to "buy" yourself two extra months of exemptions.
When you come back to the US it will trigger a special enrollment period.
Learn more about the Physical Presence Test from the IRS.