VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - (Marketwired) - October 30, 2015 -- Liberty Tax, Inc. (NASDAQ: TAX) -- Liberty Tax offices with onsite health insurance agents will open November 1, to assist Americans with Obamacare enrollment and plan renewals. Liberty Tax, a leading tax preparation franchise, anticipates an increase in the number of Americans shopping for health insurance as tax penalties for the uninsured will increase significantly in 2016.
Americans who are uninsured in 2016 will be assessed a tax penalty of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18 or 2.5 percent of taxable household income, whichever is greater. The lowest 2016 penalty is more than double its 2015 figure of $325 per adult, and significantly greater than the $95 penalty some of the uninsured paid with their 2014 income tax returns.
"Last year, some people may have decided to pay the penalty because it cost them less than paying for health insurance," said Chuck Lovelace, vice president of Affordable Care Act (ACA) for Liberty Tax Service. "This year, forgoing health insurance may not be cost effective. What we encourage people to do is to visit our offices, talk to an agent, and get a better handle on their situation. They may be surprised to find that they're eligible for tax credits to help them pay for health insurance."
Liberty Tax recognized early on the impact ACA would have on American households and on tax preparation. Liberty Tax has assisted tax preparers and franchisees in becoming licensed health insurance agents. The result is a good one for taxpayers. At participating Liberty Tax offices nationwide, taxpayers can get accurate advice and assistance from the beginning of the ACA process -- enrolling in health insurance -- to the end -- filing the tax return.
Liberty Tax's November 1 open date coincides with open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, which runs from November 1 through January 31, 2016. Taxpayers who visit Liberty Tax offices and enroll in health insurance by December 15, will have coverage starting on January 1, 2016. When tax season rolls around, Liberty Tax will again be able to assist taxpayers with tax preparation and health care tax credit reconciliation.
In the 2015 tax season, almost two million taxpayers received letters from the IRS stating that their health care subsidies were in jeopardy because they either failed to file a tax return or failed to include proper health insurance paperwork when they filed their taxes. Those figures demonstrate the significance of providing tax preparation and health insurance enrollment in one location and building a team of people who can help taxpayers navigate the complicated health care law from beginning to end. Liberty Tax has done just that.
Liberty Tax's team of ACA advisers is skilled and ready to help Americans understand their choices and enroll in health insurance plans or seek exemptions to coverage. Liberty's team of tax preparers will be ready at the start of tax season to again assist those clients in preparing their 2015 tax returns.
Founded in 1997 by CEO John T. Hewitt, Liberty Tax, Inc. (NASDAQ: TAX) is the parent company of Liberty Tax Service. Liberty Tax is one of the fastest-growing tax preparation franchises and has prepared almost 20 million individual income tax returns in more than 4,300 offices and online. Liberty Tax's online services are available through eSmart Tax, Liberty Online and DIY Tax, and are all backed by the tax professionals at Liberty Tax locations and its nationwide network of approximately 35,000 seasonal tax preparers. Liberty Tax also supports local communities with fundraising endeavors and contributes as a national sponsor for many charitable causes. For a more in-depth look, visit Liberty Tax Service and interact with Liberty Tax on Twitter and Facebook.
SOURCE Liberty Tax, Inc.
Chief Marketing Officer
Liberty Tax Service