The Individual Shared Responsibility Provision – The Basics


Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

IRS Health Care Tax Tip 2016-04, January 12, 2016

The individual shared responsibility provision requires that you and each member of your family have qualifying health insurance, a health coverage exemption, or make a payment for any months without coverage or an exemption when you file. If you, your spouse and dependents had health insurance coverage all year, you will indicate this by simply checking a box on your tax return.

Here are some basic facts about the individual shared responsibility provision.

What is the individual shared responsibility provision?

The individual shared responsibility provision calls for each individual to have qualifying health care coverage – known as minimum essential coverage – for each month, qualify for an exemption, or make a payment when filing his or her federal income tax return.

Who is subject to the individual shared responsibility provision?

The provision applies to individuals of all ages, including children. The adult or married couple who can claim a child or another individual as a dependent for federal income tax purposes is responsible for making the shared responsibility payment if the dependent does not have coverage or an exemption.

How do I get a health coverage exemption?

You can claim most exemptions when you file your tax return.  There are certain exemptions that you can obtain only from the Marketplace in advance.  You can obtain some exemptions from the Marketplace or by claiming them on your tax return. You will claim or report coverage exemptions on Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions (obsolete), and attach it to Form 1040, Form 1040-A, or Form 1040-EZ. You can file any of these forms electronically. For more information on Form 8965, see the instructions (obsolete). For any month that you or your dependents do not have coverage or qualify for an exemption, you will have to make a shared responsibility payment

What do I need to do if I am required to make a payment with my tax return?

If you have to make an individual shared responsibility payment, you will use the worksheets found in the instructions to Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, to figure the shared responsibility payment amount due. You only make a payment for the months you did not have coverage or qualify for a coverage exemption.

To learn more, visit the Reporting and Calculating the Payment page on, or use our interactive tool, Am I Eligible for a Coverage Exemption or Required to Make an Individual Shared Responsibility Payment?

What happens if I owe an individual shared responsibility payment, but I cannot afford to make the payment when filing my tax return?

The IRS routinely works with taxpayers who owe amounts they cannot afford to pay. The law prohibits the IRS from using liens or levies to collect any individual shared responsibility payment. However, if you owe a shared responsibility payment, the IRS may offset that liability against any tax refund that may be due to you.

For more information about the Affordable Care Act and your income tax return, visit