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Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

File Taxes with Zero Income?

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Question: When I enrolled in Covered California a year ago, I was making about $1400 a month and received premium assistance. I became unemployed in January and did not report the change, but still paid the adjusted premium. Do I still have to file a tax return with almost zero income? Will there be a penalty or tax consequences for this at the end of the year?

Answer: Yes. You must file a tax return even if your income is zero. You agreed to do so as part of your Covered California application. Get a form 1040EZ and you can easily fill it out and submit it yourself. The amount you have to pay back is limited to $300 in your scenario. If you did not file a 2014 Federal Income Tax Return, you are not eligible for a subsidy in 2016.


Yeah, tell Kaiser off. Boy, they are so messed up over there. Tell Kaiser that Kaiser has to abide by what Covered California is relaying to Kaiser via feed. If one’s state Covered California application income is unchanged, then Kaiser cannot discern something else, regardless of what may be relayed over the phone from member to Kaiser rep. Man, Kaiser is messed up. So many weird and wild mistakes over there, and the amount of time they then force upon the member and broker to fix these mistakes.

My client was unemployed and receiving a subsidy of $149 a month. His gross premium is $235 but he’s been paying the net of $86 for all of 2015. Now that he got a job Kaiser is trying to charge him $800 a month. They say it is to pay themselves back the subsidy because his annual income for 2015 will be more than 45K so he’ll owe it back eventually. My client JUST got a job and can’t pay $800 a month now. He can pay the full premium of $235 and pay the rest back with his tax return. What can he do? Does he have any options? Thanks.

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