The tax instructions for individual taxpayers for the past few years has been to indicate if the taxpayer had health insurance, were exempt or if they made a shared responsibility payment. Prior to the 2016 tax returns, the IRS had still processed the tax returns even if this information was not included on the tax return. In 2016 the IRS announced that for future tax years returns would be rejected if you did not report if you had health insurance, were exempt or paid the penalty on the tax return.
Due to the Jan 20, 2017 Executive Order the IRS will accept tax returns that are silent in reporting whether the taxpayer had health insurance. Processing silent returns means that taxpayer returns are not systematically rejected by the IRS at the time of filing.
The IRS reaffirmed however that legislative provisions of the ACA law are still in force until changed by the Congress and taxpayers remain required to follow the law.
In short they are saying if you don’t have health insurance, you still have to pay the penalty – even if you don’t report it on the tax return. If you use a paid preparer, expect that they will still ask for and report the health information to ensure that the tax return being filed is a correct and properly filed tax return. If the preparer fails to do that the preparer of the return may be subject to a preparer penalty.