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Department of the Treasury

Important Regulation Clarifies Rules of the Road for Health Care Law

Today, the IRS and Department of Treasury issued final regulations that bring us one step closer to expanding coverage options for millions of uninsured Americans who will start enrolling in new health plans on October 1. These final rules finalize the health care law’s requirement that individuals carry a minimum level of insurance. This requirement is central to improving women’s access to the health insurance market by making it financially possible for insurers to provide coverage to all who seek it at a reasonable cost.

Unlike today’s market, the 2014 health insurance market will provide comprehensive coverage to women regardless of pre-existing conditions that includes coverage for essential health benefits including maternity coverage – and women won’t be charged more than men for that coverage. In order to make that market a reality, it is important that people don’t wait to get sick to enroll in coverage. Read more »

IRS Proposes to Expand Tax Relief for Innocent Spouses

If you’re married, you’re probably planning to file your taxes jointly; most couples do. You should know that spouses filing a joint return are generally each liable for all of the tax owed on that return—but the law provides equitable relief when one of the spouses has no control over, or perhaps no knowledge of, how the household’s financial situation is reported. This “innocent spouse” relief is especially important for women: 90 percent of those who request relief from joint liability are women, 65 percent of those who request relief make less than $30,000 a year, and some are survivors of domestic violence.  

Section 6015(f) of the Internal Revenue Code provides that equitable relief is available for innocent spouses, but the determination rests on a “facts and circumstances” test.  

The Department of the Treasury recently proposed updating, clarifying, and expanding IRS guidelines for granting equitable relief. The proposed guidelines are beneficial to low-income women in general and to survivors of domestic violence in particular. Read more »