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IRS lacks clout to enforce mandatory health insurance
The IRS processed more than 230 million tax returns last year, paid 127 million refunds and received about 68 million phone calls. The agency is responsible for enforcing a tax code that, at 71,000 pages, makes Anna Karenina look like a comic book.
Starting in 2014, the agency will have another task: making sure all Americans have health insurance. Under the law, Americans who can afford health insurance but refuse to buy it will face a fine of up to $695 or 2.5% of their income, whichever is higher. More than 4 million Americans could be subject to penalties of up to $1,000 by 2016 if they fail to obtain health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office said last week.
The IRS will be the enforcer — sort of.
While the IRS can impose liens or levies, seize property or seek jail time against people who don't pay taxes, it's barred from taking such actions against taxpayers who ignore the insurance mandate. In the arsenal instead: the ability to withhold refunds from taxpayers who decline to pay the penalty, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said this month.
Still, compliance with the health reform law will be largely voluntary, says Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University. "By taking criminal sanctions and liens and levies off the table, the IRS' hands are tied, to a considerable extent."
The IRS is "being put in a position where it will be sending notices that will annoy people" and not much else, says James Maule, professor of law at Villanova University and author of the tax blog MauledAgain. "It's basically designed for failure."
Read more: USA Today
How to Avoid ObamaCare in Two Easy Steps
Are you without health insurance? Do you resent being forced, under the latest unconstitutional round of federal meddling in the healthcare sector, to purchase insurance? Would you prefer to save your money or sink it into something with real value, such as gold? Believe it or not, under ObamaCare it is possible to do this without penalty.
1. Don’t purchase health insurance.
2. Underpay your federal income tax throughout the year so that you aren’t owed a refund the following year — and keep doing this for 10 years thereafter.
Now here’s why: According to USA Today, the IRS is in charge of collecting the fines on those who don’t purchase health insurance — “up to $695 or 2.5% of their income, whichever is higher” — but it can only do so by withholding the money from a taxpayer’s refund. Ergo, no refund, no fine.
The only catch is that the IRS can withhold the money from any refunds for up to 10 years from the year in which the taxpayer reports not having health insurance; so if you choose not to buy insurance in 2015, be sure not to have any refunds coming your way until 2026.
Read more: The New American
(By the way, if you’re concerned that choosing not to buy health insurance will doom you to outrageous medical bills should you require treatment, remember that you can always purchase a policy after you are diagnosed since the law also forbids insurers from refusing potential customers with pre-existing conditions or charging them higher rates. Yes, it’s designed to fail. When it does, the politicians will blame the failure on the market and say that since every other avenue except single-payer health insurance has been tried and found wanting, the only possible solution is full-blown socialized medicine. Leftists who support ObamaCare despite the fact that it is a sop to hated corporations may sound crazy, but they’re crazy like foxes.)
The New American