By Sarah Ferris - 01/05/15 05:47 PM EST
H&R Block is launching a national campaign on ObamaCare to help customers work through what the company calls “the biggest tax code change” in two decades.
This year’s tax season will mark the first time that people without insurance will face financial penalties under ObamaCare. As these changes take effect, H&R Block is warning that “there is still confusion” about how individuals across the country will fare under ObamaCare.
“The Affordable Care Act has made health care a tax issue and is going to make filing taxes more complicated this year,” the company’s president and CEO Bill Cobb wrote in a release.
Polling by the H&R BLock Tax Institute, an independent research arm within the company, has found that most customers were unaware of key tax rules under ObamaCare. For example, many people surveyed underestimated the penalty for not having insurance.
Starting this year, each person without coverage will pay $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is higher.
The mandate is a crucial part of ObamaCare, meant to push people of all ages and health conditions to seek coverage – and balance the influx of older and sicker people who were expected to flood the marketplaces with younger, healthier counterparts.
The Internal Revenue Service, which is charged with levying the fines, has already warned that it is facing a staffing shortage and will struggle to process taxpayers’ refunds on time this filing season.
H&R Block said it has trained its 80,000 employees for a combined 600,000 hours specifically to help with ObamaCare questions.
“I believe we’ve devoted more training and other resources to understanding the tax implications of the ACA than anyone else in the tax preparation industry,” Cobb, the company’s president, said.