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The Wagner Law Group

The Wagner Law Group is a nationally recognized practice in the areas of ERISA and employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor and human resources, investment management and real estate. 


Established in 1996, The Wagner Law Group has 28 attorneys engaged exclusively in employee benefits, estate planning and employment law. Six of our attorneys are AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell as having very high to preeminent legal abilities and ethical standards. The firm is among the largest ERISA boutiques in the country. Our practice is national in scope, with clients in more than 40 states and several foreign countries.





Contact Info

The Wagner Law Group


  Integrity | Excellence



Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110


Washington, D.C.

Tel: (202) 969-2800

  Fax: (202) 969-2568

800 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

Suite 810

Washington, D.C. 20006


Palm Beach Gardens 

Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7108 Fairway Drive
Suite 125
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418



Tel: (813) 603-2959

Fax: (813) 603-2961

101 East Kennedy Boulevard

Suite 2140
Tampa, FL  33602 


San Francisco

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 358-8300

300 Montgomery Street

Suite 600

San Francisco, CA 94104


St. Louis

Tel: (314) 236-0065

Fax: (314) 236-5743
100 South 4th Street, Suite 550
St. Louis, MO  63102 







February 23, 2017


 Health and Welfare Law Alert




   IRS Revises Enforcement Policy on ACA Individual Mandate Compliance




The IRS has announced that it will not reject 2016 tax returns that do not provide information on whether the individual taxpayer and his family members had qualifying health coverage for 2016. The IRS uses this information to enforce compliance with the Affordable Care Act's ("ACA's") individual mandate provisions. This enforcement policy change comes in the wake of President Trump's Executive Order directing federal agencies to minimize the ACA's financial impact on individuals.


Background. The ACA's individual mandate requires that all non-exempt U.S. citizens and legal residents must either: (1) maintain qualifying health coverage (i.e., minimum essential coverage); (2) qualify for a health coverage exemption; or (3) be subject to a penalty. Individuals who lack access to affordable minimum essential coverage are exempt from the mandate.


IRS Form 1040 instructs taxpayers to confirm whether they (and each member of their family) had qualifying health coverage for the entire tax year. Taxpayers who had qualifying health care coverage for all 12 months check "full-year coverage" (on line 61 of Form 1040), and taxpayers who did not must either claim a coverage exemption by filing IRS Form 8965 (see the Alert of 3/20/2015) or report and pay an individual mandate penalty for each month without coverage.


While Form 1040 requires that individuals provide ACA compliance information, IRS still accepted and processed returns that were silent in this regard. For the 2016 tax year, however, the IRS put in place a system that would reject tax returns without ACA compliance information.


In January, President Trump issued an Executive Order intended to minimize the ACA's economic burden. The Order directs the executive departments responsible for ACA enforcement to waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay implementation of any ACA provision or requirement that imposes a fiscal burden on a state, or a cost, fee, tax penalty or regulatory burden on individuals, health care providers and purchasers of health insurance, among others.


IRS's Revised Enforcement Policy. Consistent with President Trump's Order, the IRS recently announced on its website that it will continue to accept and process individual taxpayers' returns that do not provide information about ACA compliance.


Interestingly, the same IRS announcement confirms that the ACA's legislative provisions remain in full force until repealed by Congress, meaning that taxpayers must continue to comply with the ACA's individual mandate and pay what they may owe. Nonetheless, the ACA's individual mandate provisions do not expose noncompliant taxpayers to criminal prosecution or penalties for failures to timely pay penalties, and the IRS cannot place a lien or levy on any property of the taxpayer for ACA compliance failures. However, the IRS may offset a taxpayer's liability for the individual mandate penalty against any refund due the taxpayer.





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This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal advice.  This material is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered advertising.