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IRS Commish - Health Insurance Mandate will be tied to Tax Refund

I don't have much to add to this report from The DC except a weary "we told you so":

Individuals who don't purchase health insurance may lose their tax refunds according to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. After acknowledging the recently passed health-care bill limits the agency's options for enforcing the individual mandate, Shulman told reporters that the most likely way to penalize individuals that don't comply is by reducing or confiscating their tax refunds.

Speaking at the National Press Club on Monday, Shulman downplayed the IRS's role in enforcing the recent overhaul of the health insurance industry by claiming the agency would not aggressively target individuals who don't purchase coverage. He noted that the health-care bill expressly forbids the agency from freezing bank accounts, seizing assets or pursuing criminal charges, but when pressed said the IRS would most likely use tax refund offsets to penalize those that don't comply with the mandate. The IRS uses refund offsets to collect from individuals that owe the federal government a delinquent debt.

"These are not the kinds of things we send agents out about," Shulman said. "These are things where you get a letter from us. Congress was very careful to make sure there was nothing too punitive in this bill."

Many reports have claimed that enforcement of the individual mandate will be non-existent, but Shulman's answers indicate differently.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, since countless millions of Americans look forward to their annual income tax refunds as the equivalent of a yearly bonus. Of course those who pay income tax could simply adjust their withholdings so that there is little to refund in the first place. But 40% or so of Americans -- most of whom are lower income -- earn no taxable income or have a negative tax liability. Many of those people count on IRS refunds in the form of earned income credits or child tax credits, and they do not have the option of changing their withholdings. Or what about disaster victims, who also receive earned income credits? How will these people will react when the government starts to delay or reduce the amount of their refunds?

(Final paragraph edited and expanded)


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Comments (20)

People will figure out real... (Below threshold)
TexBob:

People will figure out real quick how to adjust their withholding so they don't give the government an interest free loan every year.

The best point Michael made... (Below threshold)
Rick Caird:

The best point Michael made is about the low income filers who get money, not money back. For example, the earned income credit results in a refund bigger than anything withheld. Most of us reading this blog realize we can adjust our withholding and thumb our nose at the IRS. Those who cannot are the poorest among us.

So, once again we have the Democrats screwing those they claim to love the most. It is amazing how that continues on and on and there never seems to be a price to be paid.

There is that "sieze" word ... (Below threshold)
914:

There is that "sieze" word again. Barry siezer and the rest of these assholes continue to slit their throats.

November is too damn far away.

All hail Seizer Obustus!</p... (Below threshold)

All hail Seizer Obustus!

Taking this approach is "a ... (Below threshold)

Taking this approach is "a way" of trying to enforce people getting coverage, but it definitely does not seem to have been thought out well in advance. Having the ability to only enforce this on some of the population will definitely not be received as fair by those at the lower end of the income spectrum.

Cool, now all those folks w... (Below threshold)
glenn:

Cool, now all those folks who aren't smart enough to adjust their witholding will help pay for my health care.

"Speaking at the Nationa... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Speaking at the National Press Club on Monday, Shulman downplayed the IRS's role in enforcing the recent overhaul of the health insurance industry by claiming the agency would not aggressively target individuals who don't purchase coverage."

Riiiiight. That's why they want 12,000 new IRS employees. So they can sit around and not enforce anything.

These people are a joke. If they're just going to send out "sternly worded letters" why not just employ UN workers? They have a whole lot more experience in that regard.

Who out there thinks the Go... (Below threshold)
Roy:

Who out there thinks the Government will actually screw over the poorer people this way? Anybody?... Bueller?... Buelller?

If the government can requi... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

If the government can require you to buy a product that meets their approval, in this case Health Insurance, they can require you to buy ANY product...and require it be one THEY approve of.

And as the Nanny State grows they WILL start to require more and more products be purchased...healthier food...specific cars...selected appliances...etc.

ALL, of courwse, in the name of the "greater good".

The Left is delighted to hand the government this power over their lives...because they believe their god, Lord Obama, will use that power only for good. Their foolishness is a threat to MY freedom.

Did Shulman clear his state... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Did Shulman clear his statements with Axelrod?

Anyone who tells me that De... (Below threshold)
Mr. Kemp:

Anyone who tells me that Democrats help the poor and Republicans don't is either painfully ignorant or willfully deceitful.

The ObamaCare health bill presents poor folks with two untenable choices: either you pay the cost of healthcare, either through taxes or directly, or you pay the $500 fine (and they never outlined whether the fine was per person or per household). People who are living hand-to-mouth couldn't afford the $500 fine if it is per household; if the fine is $500 per person, a family of four would be paying $2,000 to avoid paying for healthcare.

So basically, ObamaCare sucks the economic resources out of poor people no matter what they do, rendering them unable to live their lives the way they choose to.

I guess you can choose to b... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

I guess you can choose to believe that if you don't get insurance or pay your fine you'll get nothing more than a sternly worded letter, but this is downright scary:

Obama private police force

Could you just imagine if a Republican congress slipped this into a bill by a narrow partisan majority with a Republican President? The press would go nuts. Since we have a Marxist President and a Marxist congress did it-- not a peep.

$325 penalty now rising to ... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

$325 penalty now rising to $695 for an individual?

Are you kidding me?

It's a bargain! It's way cheaper than buying insurance. And since they're not supposed to audit you for non-payment it'll only come up incidentally.

All you have to do is wait until you get sick and THEN buy insurance. Since you can't be turned down and cannot be rated on illness it's no problem!

And once everyone catches on, the only people who buy insurance will be sick people. Then the rates go through the roof and system goes into a death spiral as more and more drop out.

Then the insurance industry goes under and there he is among the carnage- Barack Hussein Gatsby- to pick up the pieces and create single payer universal health care.

Destruction of the private health insurance industry. That's what this is all about, Charlie Brown. That's why they incentivized NOT having insurance.

Why send purple-shirted thu... (Below threshold)
Don L:

Why send purple-shirted thugs to intimidate and control the mindless masses when you can send honest to goodness professional thugs with guns after them?

We don't need to worry we have their word? That's the makings of a good Woody Allen Movie...

Is the IRS the new civilian army Obama wanted?

Since most people will be f... (Below threshold)
John S:

Since most people will be forced to buy insurance only when they lose their job, wouldn't it more efficient to deduct the $1,500 month family plan from the $800 month unemployment check?

"Congress was very caref... (Below threshold)
914:

"Congress was very careful to make sure there was nothing too punitive in this bill"

Wha?? The whole damn thing is a giant red socialist pain in the ass.. I mandate all of Congress be horsewhipped in November, preferably sooner..

Well, probably the greatest... (Below threshold)
Caesar Augustus:

Well, probably the greatest irony of all this is that a huge percentage of those most negatively affected by the non-coverage penalty -- the working poor in big cities -- will continue blindly to vote Democrat across the board.

"If the government can r... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

"If the government can require you to buy a product that meets their approval, in this case Health Insurance, they can require you to buy ANY product...and require it be one THEY approve of."

Just think- the next Republican Congress can force everyone in the country to buy a gun.

And a copy of Sarah Palin's book.

The sneaking thing about th... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

The sneaking thing about the mandate is this ...
None of the mandate taxes will get paid to the insurance companies ...

so they'll be forced to cover the sick folks, won't get premiums from the healthy kids and go out of business even faster ... oh and they will be required to calculate their premiums based on the assumption that all the healthy kids will participate ...

the only winner will be Uncle Sam ...

Dr John, I need to know whe... (Below threshold)

Dr John, I need to know whether (1) you're kidding, (2) you're not kidding, but want us to think you are, or (3) you think you're kidding, but you really aren't.

In times like these, any one of the above is possible.




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