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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.

Must Dependent File Taxes?

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Question: My family of four is covered under Covered California with premium assistance for 2015. Our 21 yr old daughter did not complete enough school to be considered a full time student, so we cannot claim her for our 2015 tax return. She did work, and earned about $9000.00. Will we be penalized because she should have had her own health care plan (MediCal). Should she enroll for 2016 for her own plan before I take her off ours?

Answer: Single dependents must file a federal income tax return if their earned income is more than $6,100. So your daughter must file a tax return for 2015. She needs to create a Covered California application for her own 1-person household. Her income makes her eligible for Medi-Cal in 2016. You will need to update your Covered California account by removing her from your household. There are no penalties for either your daughter or yourself. If you received more premium assistance in 2015 than you were entitled to, you will pay some of it back to the IRS when you file your tax return for 2015.


Both of my children transitioned to medi-cal for families in early 2014…when my daughter turned 18 in Dec 2014 she no longer showed up on my ‘bill’ and I only pay $13 per month for my son (13) yet my daughter still continued to receive benefits. I received a letter today saying coverage will stop on dec 31 2015 for both of them because I am a ‘medically indigent adult’ well im assuming it was referring to me. I am wondering why this change all of a sudden, why was my 19 yr old named on it? Also the 19 yr old just started working and woukd have only earned about $500 before the end of the yesr but may earn close to $9000 by end of 2016. Shattends college part/time. I have insurance through my employer but cant afford to put both children on. What are my options for both children?

It reads to me that the daughter will not be a “single dependent” for tax year 2015, but will be a “single filer” who cannot be claimed as someone else’s dependent. In this case, the daughter does not have to file a tax return if her gross income is less than $10,300. However, it seems to be in the best interest of the daughter to file a tax return so she can be refunded for any excess employer tax withholdings and apply for a 2016 health insurance plan via Covered CA.

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