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How the IRS will enforce health care ‘tax’ penalty

Mitchell Hartman Aug 2, 2012
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How the IRS will enforce health care ‘tax’ penalty

Mitchell Hartman Aug 2, 2012
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Jeremy Hobson: On Capitol Hill today, a House Committee is looking into the effects of the Supreme Court’s ruling on health care; Specifically, just how the IRS will assess a tax on people who don’t carry health insurance. Opponents of the health care overhaul say the IRS isn’t authorized to collect and share the personal information that’s required.

Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman has more.


Mitchell Hartman: The IRS will assess whether people and businesses owe money for not having insurance. And it’ll provide income and household data, so the new health insurance exchanges can determine whether people are eligible for subsidies to pay their premiums.

Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee says this goes too far.

Scott DesJarlais: It gives unprecedented power to the IRS. Now they’re having to collect data from all the companies. Plus, it’s going to involve more information than people have had to give in the past.

But Henry Aaron at the Brookings Institution insists this is not a new mandate for the IRS.

Henry Aaron: There’s a long history of asking individuals for information about their income, or even their net worth, their assets, for them to quality for federal programs.

And Aaron says the IRS has precious little enforcement power if you fail to pay the tax for not carrying insurance. It can deduct the amount from your refund. But it can’t dock your wages to get the money.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

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