IRS proposes health law's tax credit rules

The Obama administration on Wednesday published a set of proposed regulations to guide the allocation of federal tax credits for some Americans under the president’s Affordable Care Act.

People who don’t receive adequate health insurance through their employers would be eligible for premium tax credits of varying amounts, based on their income. The draft Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules, published in the Federal Register for public consideration, detail the parameters of the program.

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The action follows the administration’s move to simplify application forms to apply for the tax credits and join health exchanges created by the landmark law.

Under the regulations proposed Wednesday, individuals could receive tax credits if they are not eligible for “affordable coverage” via an employer-sponsored plan that covers for at least 60 percent of costs.

The IRS and Department of Health and Human Services have developed a “minimum value calculator” that employers could use to determine whether their plans meet previously proposed essential health benefits. Individuals could also use the calculator to determine if they are eligible for the tax credit.

As currently drafted, the credits would apply to taxpayers whose household income is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line, calibrated to the size of the individual’s family.

Interested parties and the public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed rules. The IRS will weigh all comments before finalizing the rules, which are set to take effect for the 2014 tax year.

The proposal is the latest of dozens of new regulations required by the healthcare law, which has come under renewed criticism in recent days following concerns from the president’s own party about the implementation of the new regulations.

Earlier this month, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who was influential in helping to craft the law, warned of a “huge train wreck,” as the administration moves to impose its provisions.

On Tuesday, President Obama acknowledged there would be “glitches and bumps,” but maintained the law’s rollout was going well thus far.