Skip to main content

IRS Rules on Individual Mandate Penalties

By November 8, 2013Commentary

So you are a pretty healthy young person, with likely annual health spending under $300, and you are told you have to get health insurance coverage that probably is going to cost you at least $2000 or $3000 a year and that is largely going to subsidize health care for people who have engaged in a lifetime of unhealthy behaviors.  That is money you aren’t that eager to spend, assuming you even have that much disposable income.  And while subsidies are available if you make under about $45,000 a year for an individual, you don’t really get much of a subsidy unless you are making minimum wage.  How about a little civil disobedience and just give the finger to the federal government and tell them they can take their mandate and shove it.  What might happen to you?  Well, since the federal government has literally issued thousands of pages of rules on the beloved reform law, as you might expect there are some on the penalty or as it is euphemistically called, the “Shared Responsibility Payment for Not Maintaining Essential Coverage”.   (IRS Rules)   Now good luck understanding this rule, which is typically dense, gobbledygook federalese.  The average person doesn’t have a prayer of grasping the rule’s requirements.  There are all kinds of complicated exemptions and definitions and calculations.  Now here is a useful idea, members of certain religious sects are exempt!!  If I were one of these sects (think Amish) I might be doing a little recruiting right about now.  Hmm, here is another interesting exemption–is the coverage affordable?  Given the mandates in the reform law, not much coverage is affordable anymore.  Anyway, once you figure out if you are required to have coverage, and just whether or not that coverage meets President Obama’s definition of minimum essential coverage (just be sure its not from some bad apple insurer trying to address consumer choice) and then you try to calculate what your penalty might be (not bad in 2014, but pretty bad by 2016), then check out section 1.5000A-5 of the rules, where you will learn that there isn’t much the IRS can do to make you pay your “Shared Responsibility Payment”.  You are supposed to provide evidence on your tax return of having minimum essential coverage, and if you don’t, you are supposed to pay your penalty.  But the IRS is forbidden from using all its enforcement methods to collect from you, other than they can offset any refund due to you.  So they can’t take your car or house or levy your salary.  So my advice to you young, healthy people, and to anyone else who is fed up with this load of crap called the “Affordable Care Act”, don’t sign up and don’t pay the penalty.  Civil disobedience in the interest of freedom is a wonderful thing.

Leave a comment