Portman: IRS failure to meet Health Coverage Tax Credit deadline is “unacceptable”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said on Wednesday that the IRS’s announcement that it wouldn’t meet a statutory deadline to implement a tax credit’s advance monthly payment (AMP) program was “unacceptable.”

The IRS announced that it would not meet the deadline for implementing the Health Coverage Tax Credit’s (HCTC) AMP program, which helps workers and salaried retirees purchase private health insurance to replace employer-sponsored coverage that they lost.

“The IRS’s failure to meet the legal deadline to implement the HCTC’s advance payment program is entirely unacceptable,” Portman and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said in a joint statment. “Many of our constituents have already had to take out home equity lines of credit, withdraw money from retirement accounts early, or take other extraordinary measures to pay for health insurance while the IRS gets the AMP program up and running. Giving these taxpayers little notice that they won’t be receiving any premium assistance for the second half of the year — when many are already locked into health insurance plans with set payments — is unfair.”

HCTC provides a 72.5 percent refundable tax credit to workers and salaried retirees who are enrolled in a qualifying health insurance plan. Its purpose is to serve as a stopgap for those who are too young to receive Medicare benefits.

“We are committed to working with the IRS to examine and implement available options to get the AMP program running on time for as many participants as possible,” Portman said.

Portman and Brown introduced legislation last year to extend HCTC for five years. The legislation was signed into law as part of the larger Trade Preferences Extension Act.

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