Fox Business Network: Supreme Court Obamacare Ruling Means Bigger, More Intrusive IRS

Friday, 29 Jun 2012 12:44 PM

By Bob Willis

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The Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare gives the IRS more powers than ever, as it will become the agency enforcing the law and collecting healthcare mandate penalties, IRS officials tell Fox Business Network.

IRS officials, speaking on background, say the agency will have access to information about complete payrolls and levels of coverage at small businesses, as well as the incomes of all breadwinners in a home in order to assess and collect the mandate tax, Fox said.

The IRS will also be allowed to share personal information with more government agencies, insurance companies and employers.

The IRS will add about 4,500 new employees, 4,000 of them for enforcement, to catch tax evaders, and it has budgeted $304 million to build a new computer system to oversee the Affordable Care Act, according to the Government Accountability Office, Fox said.

The IRS will be the agency collecting the mandate penalties – or "taxes,’’ as the Supreme Court ruled — and will also determine whether individuals buy "adequate’’ coverage and whether small businesses provide "affordable’’ coverage to their employees, as mandated by the new law.

Nina Olson, who runs the Taxpayer Advocate Office, a federal IRS overseer, says the new law will give the IRS access to more personal and business information as it determines whether individuals and businesses meet those standards.

Individuals without adequate coverage and businesses that don’t provide affordable coverage may have to pay fines as part of their tax-return filing, according to the mandate.

Olson said the new information required of tax payers may lead to more tax evasion.

The TAO said “obtaining this new information will require the IRS to communicate with entities and government agencies that it may not deal with now,” according to Fox.

The information required by the IRS will include: insurance plan information and the costs of those plans; whether a taxpayer had an offer of employer-sponsored care and the cost of employer-sponsored care; and whether a taxpayer received a premium tax credit.

The TAO says the IRS may not have the necessary budget, staffing or skill sets to enforce the new healthcare law. Olson says the federal tax code is so complex already that the IRS itself makes numerous mistakes in managing it.

The IRS should revise its mission statement to show it administers social benefits as well as collects revenue, TAO said.

The court ruling, while a legal victory for President Barack Obama, sets the stage for more political wrangling in the run-up to the November elections, The Wall Street Journal reported.

By terming the law’s linchpin, the individual mandate, a permissible form of taxation, the Supreme Court has given the Republicans ammunition to claim the president has imposed more taxes on the American people, the Journal says.

The Republicans took a majority of the House in 2010, partly by attacking Obamacare, the Journal says. This time around, it may also help them pick up support at the ballot box.

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