CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) - Tax season began January 20. This year, there are some things that have changed in the tax process. Tax pros say they've spent the last year getting up to speed on the changes.
The Affordable Care Act caused big changes to the tax code starting in 2014, and tax pros say people have been stopping in daily to figure out how they're affected.
Experts say even if you're not insured under Obamacare, there will be extra steps. If you are covered under a regular provider, like the majority of people, you'll still have to answer questions.
If you didn't have health care for more than three months in 2014, "You will be penalized unless you qualify for an exemption," according to Samantha Slapnik, owner of Liberty Tax in Carolina Forest.
"A minimum of $95 per person, or one-percent of your taxable income calculation -- It can be much more than $95. People stop listening at the $95 and say, 'Oh I'll just pay the 95 and be done with it' but it could be much more," she warned. And the penalty will increase drastically over the next three years.
If you are covered under the ACA, you need to be on the lookout for a new document called the 1095-A.
There are also some questions surrounding when you will receive your return. If you e-file, Slapnik says you should get it within 21 days. Processing paper returns though could run you longer than usual. Since 2010, it has been standard to wait 12 to 16 weeks.
This year though, "Now with the IRS, they've had to cut funding and cut staffing, it depends on what the issue is, how long it will take," Slapnik explains. "It could take three, four, five, six months."
Tax pros say they're bracing to begin getting very busy toward the end of the week through the first week of February. Like normal, you have until midnight April 15 to file.