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Even the IRS Doesn’t Understand Obamacare

| Jan 23, 2013 | Uncategorized

The IRS is getting a headache trying to understand and properly enforce tax provisions of the comprehensive health care reform known as Obamacare.  There are several effects of Obamacare.  Obtaining tax credits for health coverage is fraught with complications based on recent income fluctuations and major life events.  The IRS does not treat insurance subsidy repayments quite the same as regular income.

The individual mandate is singularly unpopular among many.  Businesses must account for their obligations to the authorities and employees in light of certain employer-employee provisions of Obamacare.  Lower-income individuals may see their taxes rise not only in amount, but also in complexity of paperwork.  Complexity is a recurring theme.

Obtaining tax credits for health insurance coverage is not as simple as it sounds.  A lower or middle-income individual needs health insurance.  Under Obamacare the IRS gives that individual’s tax return information to indicate how much financial help that individual merits for health coverage.  The problem is that those tax returns are two years old.  In two years, a person may have become vastly richer or poorer.  This time lag can deliver credit as that are either too charitable or too harshly frugal.

Determining how much, if any, of insurance subsidy income is taxable will vary state to state.  Interstate relocation and making other big life changes, such as getting married or divorced, further complicate the tax liability picture.

The individual mandate is a prominent feature of Obamacare.  Some see the necessity of a tax penalty for those who do not buy health coverage.  Nevertheless, the individual mandate has its detractors.

Another aspect of Obamacare casts uncertainty over hiring practices.  Effects and specifics of Obamacare on businesses and employee coverage are complex and may overwhelm small and medium-sized businesses.

Lastly, Obamacare affects a demographic usually unconcerned with tax law nuances:  low and low-middle income individuals.  Obamacare will increase paperwork and overall difficulty of complying with all relevant laws that may apply to lower-income taxpayers.

This is a uniquely unfortunate situation.  Unlike government agencies or businesses, lower-income individuals may not have the education or interest to accurately read and comprehend legal fine print usually the purview of tax law professionals.

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