Individuals covered in 2019 under the Affordable Care Act are not expected to pay a shared responsibility penalty or file an exemption, thanks to changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

But for taxpayers who owe a shared responsibility payment for tax years before 2019, the IRS may offset that liability with any tax refund that may be due to them.

In an effort to explain the provisions following the elimination of the individual shared responsibility penalty, the Internal Revenue Service has issued guidelines for those who might be affected.

As explained by the IRS, if anyone in the taxpayer’s tax household did not have minimum essential coverage through tax year 2018 and did not qualify for a coverage exemption, the taxpayer needed to make an individual shared responsibility payment when filing a federal income tax return.

But the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), enacted in December 2017, changed that. The law reduced the shared responsibility payment to zero for tax year 2019 and all subsequent years.

For January 1, 2019 and beyond, taxpayers are still required by law to have minimum essential coverage or qualify for a coverage exemption. However, under the TCJA, taxpayers no longer need to either make a shared responsibility payment or file Form 8965 with their tax return if they don’t have minimum essential coverage for part or all of 2019.

The IRS guidelines, written in a question-and-answer format, spell out other basic information such as who is subject to the provision, what constitutes minimum essential coverage, what are statutory exemptions from the requirement to have minimum essential coverage, and what to do to ensure your coverage meets the requirement. 

The guidelines can be found on the IRS website.