Thursday, February 4, 2016

So Much For the Accountability Factor

I had a chance to engage an Internal Revenue Service agent in an informal, off-the-record conversation this week.  I found out that morale is low at the IRS right now due to staffing cuts that are making it nearly impossible to keep up with returns and collections.  We discussed an amended return that I filed almost three months ago which still has not been processed.  I half-jokingly asked the agent how they were going to enforce the Affordable Care Act requirement that everyone must have health insurance and to collect the penalty--I mean tax for constitutionality purposes--if there were fewer auditors.  For a response I got an exaggerated eye roll and a "Yeah, like that was going to happen".

So it sounds like the hallmark legacy of the Obama Administration--a lack of personal responsibility on the part of anyone--will continue.  Based on my conversation, I'm left with the belief that someone could either falsely claim to have insurance--knowing the possibility of being audited is greatly diminished now--or just not pay the penalty--I mean tax for constitutionality purposes--since there won't be anyone trying to collect it.

And speaking of collections, it turns out the IRS is  hamstrung by language in the ACA when it come to enforcing the penalty--er, tax--provision.  The only option the IRS has is to take it out of someone's refund.  If you owe Uncle Sam on your return, the tax is added on--but there is no immediate penalty for not paying that portion.  What's more, the IRS cannot put a lien on your property or garnish your wages to collect said tax--as it can do with all other tax debts.  Their only hope is that someday you will be getting a refund--and then they can deduct what you owe.

So in effect, the Affordable Care Act has created 20-million people who are violating the "Law of the Land" as the President likes to call it every time Republicans try to repeal ObamaCare--by still not having health insurance.  And now there could be 20-million tax scofflaws as well who don't ever have to fear being "brought to justice".

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