One of President Donald Trump’s first actions upon being sworn in was to issue an executive order instructing all government agencies and departments to seek out ways to reduce the burden of Obamacare on the American people.
The Hill reported Wednesday that the Internal Revenue Service announced that it will not reject tax forms from individuals who fail to properly note on their forms that they have fully complied with the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the most hated aspect of the entire health insurance reform law.
In previous years, tax filers were compelled to either check the box confirming they maintained acceptable health insurance coverage, include their “shared responsibility payment” tax if they didn’t have insurance, or apply for one of the many special carve-out exemptions from the onerous mandate. The mandate was scheduled to be fully enforced beginning this year, and any filers who failed to do one of the above risked having their forms rejected as “silent returns.”
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“The recent executive order directed federal agencies to exercise authority and discretion available to them to reduce potential burden,” explained the IRS in a statement to libertarian outlet Reason. “Consistent with that, the IRS has decided to make changes that would continue to allow electronic and paper returns to be accepted for processing in instances where a taxpayer doesn’t indicate their coverage status.”
“Processing silent returns means that taxpayer returns are not systemically rejected, allowing them to be processed and minimizing burden on taxpayers, including those expecting a refund,” the IRS statement added.
It is worth noting that the individual mandate still officially remains on the books as a law, even if it will be largely unenforced, and should it remain on the books when the political pendulum inevitably swings back to the left, the mandate could once again be enforced, perhaps even with a requirement of back pay covering the unenforced Trump years.
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It will require an act of Congress to fully do away with the mandate, but Trump’s executive order and this announcement from the IRS appear to be a good step in the right direction toward weakening and ultimately destroying the Obamacare law.
H/T The Right Scoop
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