Topic 763 - The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010, contains tax provisions that are in effect and more that will be implemented during the next several years. The information under the following headings briefly explains some of the income tax provisions of the legislation.

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

This credit helps small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations afford the cost of covering their employees. It specifically targets businesses with low and moderate-income workers. The purpose of the credit is to encourage small employers to offer health insurance coverage for the first time or maintain coverage they already have. In general, the credit is available to small employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage for their employees. To qualify for the credit for tax years beginning in 2014 and forward, a small employer must contribute toward premiums on behalf of each employee enrolled in a qualified health plan (QHP) offered by the employer through a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP Exchange).

If you are a small employer that qualifies for this credit, use Form 8941 (PDF), Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums, and attach it to your income tax return.

For additional information on this topic, refer to the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit and the SHOP Marketplace page on

Health Coverage for Older Children

Tax-free treatment for employer-provided health care to an employee’s child has been extended until the end of the year in which the child turns age 26. The costs and reimbursements under employer health plans for coverage for an employee's eligible children are free of income, FICA and FUTA taxes, without regard to the IRS’s dependency tests. This expanded health care tax benefit applies to various work place and retiree health plans. Employers with cafeteria plans (plans that allow employees to choose from a menu of at least one qualified benefit and cash or some other taxable benefit) can permit employees to pay for health coverage for children with pre-tax contributions. This tax benefit also applies to self-employed individuals who qualify for the self-employed health insurance deduction on their federal income tax return.

Reporting of Employer Provided Health Coverage on Form W-2

The Affordable Care Act requires employers to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan on an employee’s Form W-2 (PDF), Wage and Tax Statement, in Box 12 using Code DD. Reporting the cost of health care coverage on the Form W-2 is for informational purposes only. The purpose for this reporting requirement is to provide employees useful and comparable consumer information on the cost of their health care coverage. The value of the employer’s contribution to health coverage continues to be excludable from the employee's income and is not taxable. Many employers are eligible for transition relief until future guidance limits the availability of some or all of this transition relief for this reporting requirement. The employer is not required to report the total of the aggregate reportable costs attributable to all the employees on Form W-3 (PDF), Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements. More information about the reporting can be found in the Form W-2 and W-3 General Instructions (PDF).

Additional Medicare Tax

The 0.9 percent Additional Medicare Tax applies to an individual’s wages, Railroad Retirement Tax Act compensation, and self-employment income that exceed a threshold amount based on the individual’s filing status. The threshold amounts are $250,000 for married taxpayers who file jointly, $125,000 for married taxpayers who file separately, and $200,000 for all other taxpayers. An employer is responsible for withholding the Additional Medicare Tax from wages or compensation it pays to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year.

For more information on the Additional Medicare Tax, see Topic 560 and Questions and Answers for the Additional Medicare Tax on

Additional Information

For more information about these and other tax provisions included in the Affordable Care Act, see our Affordable Care Act (ACA) Tax Provisions page on Visit the Department of Health and Human Services website and, for more information about your coverage options, financial assistance and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: August 27, 2015