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June 16, 2016

HHS awards $156 million to health centers to expand oral health services

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March 24, 2016

How the Premium Tax Credit Can Benefit You

If you purchase health coverage through the Marketplace, you might be eligible for the premium tax credit.  If you’re eligible, advance payments of this credit can help you pay your health insurance premiums. If you wait to get the premium tax credit when you file your tax return, it may increase your refund.

You must file a tax return to claim the premium tax credit. You will figure your credit on Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC). You must complete this form to claim the premium tax credit and reconcile any advance credit payments with the premium tax credit you are eligible to claim on your return. Your Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, which you receive from your Marketplace, provides information you will need when completing Form 8962. If Form 1095-A was lost, never received, or is incorrect, contact your Marketplace directly for a copy. The IRS does not issue Form 1095-A and cannot provide you with a copy.

The premium tax credit is a refundable tax credit. This means that if the amount of the credit is more than the amount of your tax liability, you will receive the difference as a refund. If you owe no tax, you can get the full amount of the credit as a refund.

If you receive advance payments of the credit, you will subtract those payments from the premium tax credit that you calculate using Form 8962. If the premium tax credit computed is more than the advance credit payments, the difference will increase your refund or lower the amount of tax owed.  If the advance credit payments are more than the premium tax credit, the difference will increase the amount of your tax liability and result in either a smaller refund or taxes owed. Filing your return without reconciling your advance payments in this manner will delay your refund and may affect future advance credit payments.

Filing electronically is the easiest way to file a complete and accurate tax return. Electronic filing options include free Volunteer Assistance, IRS Free File, commercial software and professional assistance.

For more information, visit the Premium Tax Credit page on IRS.gov/aca. Answer the yes-or-no questions in this eligibility chart or use this interview tool to see if you may qualify for the premium tax credit.



March 3, 2016

Free Help Preparing Tax Returns Available Nationwide

IRS YouTube Videos:

Free Help Preparing your Tax Return: English | Spanish | ASL

WASHINGTON –– The Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers today that they may be eligible to receive free tax help at more than 12,000 preparation sites available nationwide. The sites, generally located at community and neighborhood centers, provide tax assistance to taxpayers with low- and moderate-incomes and the elderly. 

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to individuals who generally make 54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and individuals with limited English proficiency who need assistance in preparing their taxes. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 and older. VITA and TCE volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS to help with many tax questions, including credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a significant tax credit for workers who earned $53,267 or less in 2015. Last year, more than 27.5 million eligible workers and families received almost $66.7 billion in EITC, with an average EITC amount of more than $2,400. The maximum EITC amount for 2015 is $6,242 for qualifying families. In order to receive the credit, eligible taxpayers must file a tax return, even if they do not have a filing requirement. The VITA and TCE programs can help answer many EITC questions and help taxpayers claim the credit if they qualify. Taxpayers may also use the IRS.gov EITC Assistant to help them determine their eligibility. 

Before visiting a VITA or TCE site, taxpayers should review Publication 3676-B to be aware of the services provided. To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, taxpayers can use the VITA and TCE locator tool available on IRS.gov, download the IRS smartphone app IRS2GO or call 800-906-9887.

For assistance preparing a tax return at a VITA or TCE site, taxpayers must bring all required documents and information including:

  • Proof of identification (photo ID)
  • Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted for those who do not have a Social Security number
  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
  • Birth dates for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents
  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers and other payers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • All Forms 1095, Health Insurance Statements
  • Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
  • Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms
  • Total amount paid for daycare services and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number
  • Form 1095-A, Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C, Affordable Health Care Statements
  • Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable

The military also partners with the IRS to provide free tax assistance to military personnel and their families. The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) consists of the tax program coordinators for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The AFTC oversees the operation of the military tax programs worldwide, and serves as the main conduit for outreach by the IRS to military personnel and their families. Volunteers are trained and equipped to address military specific tax issues, such as combat zone tax benefits and the effect of the EITC guidelines.

In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, most sites will file returns electronically for free. Combining e-file with direct deposit is the fastest and most accurate way to file. The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in 21 days or less. Paper returns take longer to process. Taxpayers who chose to file electronically and owe, can make a payment by the April 18, 2016 deadline using Direct Pay. This IRS free service allows taxpayers to make secure payments from a checking or savings account.

Taxpayers that prefer to file their own tax returns electronically have the option of using IRS Free File. IRS Free File offers brand-name tax software to taxpayers who earned 62,000 or less in 2015 to file their returns for free. Taxpayers who earned more can use Free Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms. IRS Free File is only available through the IRS website by visiting IRS.gov/freefile



February 5, 2016

NIHB Participates in Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Hearing and Listening Session

Committee Chairman Calls Unacceptable Indian Health Care in the Great Plains “Malpractice”
SCIA hearing 2-3-16NIHB attended this hearing and participated in the listening session, calling IHS to account, but also calling on Congress to enact solutions that will ensure meaningful changes for Indian health. You can read the whole statement of NIHB’s Board of Directors Member, Charles Headdress here….The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) held an oversight hearing yesterday on “Re-examining the Substandard Quality of Indian Health Care in the Great Plains.” Immediately following the oversight hearing, SCIA held a listening session on “Putting Patients First: Addressing Indian Country’s Critical Concerns Regarding the Indian Health Service (IHS).” During the oversight hearing, there were ten U.S. Senators in attendance. The oversight hearing consisted of three panels before the SCIA designed to address all of the issues that plague the Indian health care system.

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January 25, 2016

Teens, Communities and Scientific Experts Team Up for National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

d_a_weekAmerican teens are bombarded with false information about drugs and alcohol — from the Web, the media, the entertainment industry and friends. To SHATTER THE MYTHS, HHS scientists and other experts in communities around the country are getting together with teens during National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM to offer science-based facts about drugs and alcohol.

This year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is partnering with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to host the sixth annual National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week from Jan. 25-31. This week-long health observance provides opportunities for teenagers to ask scientists and experts the questions they most want answered about drugs and alcohol, especially the effects on the body, brain and behavior. Fifty states and several foreign nations have traditionally hosted National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week community events in schools, community centers and local organizations, with more than 1,700 events currently scheduled

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week is a time for teenagers to have an open and honest conversation about drug and alcohol use with scientists and other experts. Topics could include emerging trends like e-cigarettes and synthetic drugs that claim to be like marijuana, or general drug use in communities. Communities can also develop events around the consequences of drunk and drugged driving, or the dangers of new synthetic drugs. NIDA and NIAAA provide topical toolkits online so events can be customized to specific community needs. 

Science-based information on the effects of drug and alcohol use is especially important for teens, whose brains are still developing. Research shows a definitive link between drug use, including marijuana, and cognitive abilities and development. Research also shows that if more teens perceive drug use as risky, they will use them less.  With scientific facts about drugs and alcohol, teens can be better prepared to make good decisions. This is especially important now, as a growing number of states consider legalizing marijuana, and fewer high school students think marijuana smoking is harmful, according to NIDA’s recent Monitoring the Future survey.  The week’s events include community-based activities, online activities and a web chat with NIDA and NIAAA scientists, called Drug and Alcohol Facts Chat Day, on Jan. 26. Chat Day also includes scientists from the National Institute on Mental Health and the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.  Online resources, including the popular National Drug and Alcohol IQ Challenge, are interactive and accessible on mobile devices.  There are even videos of scientists answering the questions from the Drug and Alcohol IQ Challenge to illustrate the science behind the answers.

For more information about National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, visit teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-alcohol-facts-week. To join the conversation on social media, follow @NIDAnews  and @NIAAAnews , using the hashtag #NDAFW .