The IRS will not enforce Obamacare’s individual mandate
Back on January 21 Donald Trump signed an Executive Order which instructed government agencies to “ease the burdens” of Obamacare by cutting burdensome regulations.
According to this story the IRS has decided, in light of the Executive Order, that it will no longer require people to disclose under penalty of perjury the status of their health insurance coverage and Americans will no longer have to pay the so-called “shared responsibility” fee. Here is more:
Following President Donald Trump’s executive order instructing agencies to provide relief from the health law, the Internal Revenue Service appears to be taking a more lax approach to the coverage requirement.
The health law’s individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a “shared responsibility payment.” The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.
For most filers, filling out line 61 would be mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled “silent returns” and rejected.
Instead, however, filling out that line will be optional.
“The recent executive order directed federal agencies to exercise authority and discretion available to them to reduce potential burden,” the IRS said in a statement to Reason. “Consistent with that, the IRS has decided to make changes that would continue to allow electronic and paper returns to be accepted for processing in instances where a taxpayer doesn’t indicate their coverage status.”
The IRS still reserves the right to follow-up on returns if people do not check line 61 however it seems unlikely:
“It’s hard to enforce something without information,” says Ryan Ellis, a Senior Fellow at the Conservative Reform Network.
The the legality of this move is already being questioned and it will be interesting to see if it is challenged because the mandate has already been deemed Constitutional and it would seem to me that only the Congress can make changes to an existing law.
malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium