Dueling narratives on individual mandate tax enforcement. #obamacare

Shot (December 2013):

Despite his administration’s quiet move overnight to ease the individual mandate for some Americans, President Obama said today the requirement will “absolutely” be enforced starting April 1, 2014, when everyone must have health insurance or pay a fine.

Speaking at an end-of-year news conference, the president insisted that there will be no delay of the mandate as some Republicans have repeatedly called for.

Chaser (February 2014):

…it’s not clear that the IRS will deploy much in the way of resources to aggressively search for individuals who don’t get coverage this first year. Enforcement of the individual mandate likely will be a huge challenge for the agency, both because of the difficulties in figuring out who doesn’t have insurance and the political problems it would pose for the Obama administration.

“I’d be very surprised if there’s much in the way of enforcement. It just doesn’t seem plausible,” said Federal Policy Group Managing Director Ken Kies, a former top congressional aide. “The IRS is in a tough spot. They don’t have the resources to do this. This is a whole different responsibility for them they never had before.”

But I would suggest that supporters of Obamacare not breathe a sigh of relief.  If the administration does not rigorously enforce the mandate, it’s going to be very easy – virtually trivial – to argue that when it does enforce the mandate it’s doing so for partisan political purposes. And good luck proving that the administration isn’t actually doing that!

…Hey.  If the Democrats had only listened to me they wouldn’t be in this mess.  It’s not my fault that they didn’t game this scenario out ahead of time.

4 thoughts on “Dueling narratives on individual mandate tax enforcement. #obamacare”

  1. that does not reassure me, remember the IRS scandal is already called a phony outrage. When the admin selectively targets mandate enforcement that will be brushed off also.

  2. Worth noting that the IRS can (and will) go back 7 years, so .. if you skip in 2014, you can still be challenged on it – with interest on top of the fines – in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.
    Elections have consequences.
    p.s. no, I am not a tax professional; you really should not consider tax or legal advice from a cat to be worth more than the photons it’s written with.

    1. Actually, if the IRS finds any little thing in an audit, it opens you entirely up, not just 7 years. It’s why sales tax audits are so brutal. They always find something and then you are toast. And yes, I do deal with taxes (I’m not crazy enough to prepare them since the rules change everytime I turn around) but I do know some of what to watch for as a bookkeeper. And yes, they will challenge. Just because they don’t enforce it now doesn’t mean they never will. Anyone who thinks otherwise probably voted this lunacy in. And when the money runs short, they’ll go after everyone for even the smallest amount.

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