Members of Samaritan Ministries’ health care sharing ministry are exempt from the federal “tax” imposed on those who don’t have health insurance. You will prove your qualification for this exemption for 2016 either by completing the health insurance questions in your tax software or by including IRS Form 8965 when you file your 2016 federal income taxes by mail. If you are not required to file a tax return, you do not need to do anything to prove your exemption.
Frequently Asked Tax Questions
How do I claim my health insurance exemption when I file my federal return online?
When the tax preparation software asks you whether you had health insurance coverage in 2016, most members will say that they did not, since Samaritan Ministries is not health insurance. If you were a member of Samaritan Ministries for only part of 2016, the software should lead you through a couple additional questions to determine your eligibility for the exemption.
The software will also ask you what situation exempts you from having health insurance. Simply select that you were a member of a Health Care Sharing Ministry (be sure to claim the exemption for each Samaritan member of your household) and proceed with completing the remainder of your tax return.
You will not need to prove your membership, nor will you need an Exemption Certificate Number to claim your exemption.
How do I claim my health insurance exemption using IRS Form 8965 if I file my tax return by mail?
You can skip Part I unless you went to your state’s Exchange, completed a different form, and obtained a certificate number. See below**
You can skip Part II unless it applies to you and your income is below the filing threshold.
In Part III column C, “Exemption Type,” write “D” to indicate you are a member of a health care sharing ministry.
If you were a member for the entire year, place an X in column D. If you were a member only part of the year, use the additional columns to indicate which months you were a member. You are considered a member for any month in which you were a member for at least one day.
You may also qualify for the Short Coverage Gap exemption if you were without insurance for no more than two months before joining Samaritan. Write “B” in column C to indicate you are claiming this exemption.
To download the detailed IRS Instructions for the form click here.
Here is a sample based on a family claiming the Short Gap Exemption:
**If you went to your state’s Exchange**
If you went to your state’s Exchange, completed a form, and obtained a certificate number, you need to complete Part I. Going to the Exchange is not necessary, nor is a certificate number. In fact, going to an exchange will subject your personal information to possible public disclosure if there are additional security failings in the government exchanges, and may require duplicate filings and confusion because of the design of the exchanges.
Will Samaritan Ministries send me a Form 1095 health insurance form?
No. Samaritan Ministries is not insurance. Samaritan members should claim a health insurance exemption using Form 8965. See questions 1 and 2 above.
Are shares I send to other members tax-deductible on a Federal level? Can I deduct my shares on Schedule A?
No. As far as we are aware, the IRS does not consider shares you send to other members as tax-deductible.
Are shares I send to other members tax-deductible at the state level?
Shares you send to other members are only considered tax-deductible if you are filing with the State of Missouri. We are not aware of any other State where this is the case.
Is my annual share to Samaritan Ministries considered tax-deductible?
No. While Samaritan Ministries is recognized by the IRS as an exempt charity, only amounts given beyond the administrative fees and monthly shares are deductible.
When will I receive a letter from Samaritan Ministries documenting my tax-deductible donations?
We will send you a letter in the mail by January 31 documenting your 2016 donations. Depending on the postal service you should receive the letter by mid-February. Note: Shares you are assigned to send to Samaritan Ministries are not considered tax-deductible gifts. See question 6 above.
Are shares I receive from other members considered as income?
As far as we are aware, the IRS has never considered the receipt of shares as income.
Can I claim published medical bills for which I received shares as medical expenses on my schedule A?
We are aware that doing so has caused members to have an issue with the IRS in the past. We recommend conferring with your tax advisor before doing so.
What future tax changes might impact Samaritan members?
There are many friends of Health Care Sharing Ministries in Congress who want clarification and changes in the tax laws beneficial to our members. There is a good chance for such changes to occur this year with the help of our members contacting their representatives in Congress. We will contact our members when we need your help.
The above is provided as an informational service only for our members and is not tax advice. For tax advice, please contact your tax advisor.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at email@example.com.