Tag Archives: welcome to the real world

Obamacare is coming with some tax-filing surprises

Some great things about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare): people can still get insurance when they leave a job or are laid off; children up to age 26 can get coverage under a parent’s plan; and pre-existing conditions can no longer be used to deny coverage to Americans.

Good changes all. But lots of components of the ACA are being run through the income tax code, and that is going to make some filers nuts this year.

As The New York Times reports, many people are going to find out when they do their tax returns that they owe a penalty for failing to get health insurance.

I can summarize how the ACA will affect taxpayers in five easy sentences:

  • Some taxpayers who received subsidies for health insurance are going to owe money because they have to repay part of a subsidy
  • Some taxpayers who received subsidies are going to get more money back, because they were entitled to a larger subsidy.
  • Some taxpayers who received no subsidy will now get one, but they’ll have to file a tax return for that to happen.
  • Some taxpayers who did not have health insurance will not have to pay a penalty because they’ll qualify for one of the more than 30 exemptions from penalty.
  • Some taxpayers will notice virtually no change in how their taxes are prepared.

Hold on to your hats; it’s going to be a bumpy ride this tax season.

“The Situation” is in a not-so-good tax situation

Did you know that “Jersey Shore” reality show personality Michael Sorrentino, aka “The Situation”, and his brother Marc, grossed almost $9 million in a variety of ventures over four years? Me neither, until I read the U.S. District Court indictment, reported inThe New York Times,charging the brothers with conspiracy and filing false tax returns. Michael…Continue Reading

Washington Post’s maps paint a fascinating – and unexpected – picture of the USA

The Washington Post’s “GovBeat” feature is doing some great work, including this story and link to 25 maps and charts of the United States (your first 10 stories a month at Washingtonpost.com are free; then the paywall rises up.) One, “Finding America’s Uninsured,” (#23) shows that the national problem of people not having health insurance…Continue Reading

Super-rich have super-low tax rates, in super times or bad ones

Let’s stop a moment to reflect on the tax lives of the 400 highest-earning Americans, and how they suffered in the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Oh, wait a minute—they didn’t suffer. As James B. Stewart points out in The New York Times, the fortunate 400 still averaged $202 million apiece in adjusted gross income in…Continue Reading

Could government-gathered tracking info show up in your tax audit?

As ProPublica points out, despite the veritable explosion of stories about secret government surveillance programs, there’s a whole lot we still don’t know. We don’t know how long the government has been collecting our phone records or how much is collected. It would be nice to know what government officials think they can do under…Continue Reading

Now that’s a home run: McCourts back in court over billion-dollar Dodgers franchise

Nasty multi-million dollar divorces make for some great financial insights, especially when they wind up in court. Today’s lesson: How profitable it can be to own a professional sports franchise, and how the tax code’s preferential rates for capital gains benefit the super-wealthy. Frank McCourt owned the Los Angeles Dodgers. When he and his wife…Continue Reading