IRS undecided on health insurance coverage lawsuits

The IRS still hasn’t decided if or when it will sue anyone refusing to purchase health insurance or pay the tax penalty required under Obamacare’s “individual mandate” rule.  The IRS also doesn’t know how much Americans would have to owe the IRS before it begins to care.

The mandate deadline less than two months away.

For non-exempt filers, the penalty for lacking health coverage starts at $95 for low-income taxpayers in 2014, rising to $659 in 2016. Higher-income taxpayers who reject coverage will pay more — 1 percent of their income in 2014, rising to 2.5 percent in 2016.

An IRS spokesman said that the Form 1040 for tax year 2014, which will be drafted and finalized this fall, will include instructions on how to calculate any applicable payment under the mandate.

“I don’t know if a decision has been made about that,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Although the Affordable Care Act penalizes those who can afford health insurance but don’t choose to obtain it, it is not clear how far the IRS plans to go in enforcing the mandate during next year’s tax season.

“I have no idea under what circumstances the IRS would bring lawsuits,” said Timothy Jost, a health policy expert at Washington and Lee University School of Law. “Basically, they’re going to try to grab people’s refunds.”

An IRS spokesman wouldn’t comment on the issue.


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