Obamacare’s Impact On Taxes

Researchers have unveiled an ignorance on the part of the American public: a full 48 percent of people in the United States do not know that they must report their health insurance status on their 2014 federal income tax returns.

Tax Act

The tax-filing season is soon on its way, and most Americans 18 and over do not realize that health care and income taxes are connected. This information was uncovered by an online Intuit TurboTax Health Survey which was conducted by the well-known Harris Poll group.

According to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise dubbed “Obamacare,” all Americans have to show that they have qualifying health insurance coverage. Proof has to be presented when they file their 2014 income tax returns. If they do not, they can face a penalty.

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Photo by emanjungle

The study also shows that many Americans who do not have health insurance–a full 62 percent of them–know that they will incur a penalty if they do not have health insurance. However, 87 percent of people do not know that the time to avoid a tax penalty for the year 2014 has already come and gone. Insurance purchased during the current open enrollment time which goes through February 15th will be applied to income tax returns which are filed in 2016.

Sacha Adam, Affordable Care Act product leader for TurboTax software, says that many people in the United States do not understand there is a correlation between income taxes and health care insurance.

The Intuit survey also showed that 9 of 10 Americans have insurance, but those living in the South are less likely to have policies. Also, almost half of Americans do not know that premium tax credits are available to make health insurance more affordable for low to moderate income families. In addition, three-quarters of Americans who got health insurance through the government marketplace will renew it next year.

For more information on this important issue, go to TurboTaxHealth.com.

Higher Mortgage Rates?

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Higher Mortgage Rates In 2013?

The news that renters and home buyers do not want to hear is that 2013 will almost certainly see higher housing costs, higher rents and various mortgage fees.

This year also sees the introduction of several new mortgage regulations, and anyone applying for a mortgage will potentially be affected by these.

English: Sign of the times - Foreclosure
English: Sign of the times – Foreclosure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you apply for a FHA mortgage and have a lower down payment, you will have higher rates for your mortgage insurance.

In an ongoing effort to add to its reserves, the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) has implemented various raises to insurance premium costs since 2008, and analysts seem to think that trend will continue. One such increase will be a 0.1 percent increase in the yearly insurance premium that is added to the monthly mortgage payment of borrowers. Currently, the charge for FHA borrowers is about 1.25 percent.

Janneke Ratcliffe of UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina points out that once rates rise, this seemingly small increase will be noticeable.

Rental prices are rising due to a poor job market, a high number of foreclosures and tight mortgage lending, and in addition, the supply of rentals is low in many areas. Real estate firm Reis pointed out that in the 4th quarter of 2012, apartment vacancies stood at 4.5 percent, an 11 year low.

Whereas earlier refinancing options have not worked effectively, President Obama is likely to push for more effective legislation to help owners with an ‘underwater’ property, predict some analysts, including Julia Gordon of the Center for American Progress.

Consumers could be affected for better or worse when a series of new mortgage regulations are introduced early this year. One of the most important is a rule stipulating that a borrower must prove to a lender that they are financially able to pay back the loan.

Mortgage rates usually go up when investors move from Treasury bonds and mortgages to stocks, and this week was no exception. A 30 year fixed mortgage increased to 3.77 percent, while a 15 year fixed increased to 3.03 percent and a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage increased to 2.78 percent.