IRS over-taxed to juggle healthcare, GOP says

Dave Camp

Michigan Rep. Dave Camp (R), chariman of a House committee, has scheduled a Tuesday hearing on the IRS's involvement in the Affordable Care Act. Image: Michael.Jolley/Flickr/CC B

The Supreme Court’s decision last month to uphold nearly all of the Obama Administration’s Affordable Health Care Act will task the Internal Revenue Service beyond its normal duties of tax collection. Starting in 2014, it will be responsible for collecting proofs of insurance, as well as penalizing those who choose not to acquire it.

Largest tax change in 20 years

The added responsibility of the agency will require new regulations, forms and public education programs on the new tax codes. the Treasury inspector general who oversees the IRS calls it “the largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years.”

Late last month, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the individual mandate requiring most Americans to acquire health insurance by 2014 was constitutional, if the penalty for not acquiring insurance is handled through the tax system. That is where the IRS comes in.

Republicans seek to discredit law

In another attempt to discredit the Affordable Car Act, some conservatives have spoken out, claiming that the agency is already using its appropriations to make preparations for being the watchdog of the nation’s healthcare system.

The House Ways and Means Committee wrote, in a June report:

“The agency’s repeated lack of transparency to Congress and its failure to provide accountability to the American taxpayers raises fundamental concerns about implementation authorities vested to the IRS.”

If at first you don’t succeed…

Michicgan Rep. Dave Camp (R), chairman of the committee, has scheduled a Tuesday hearing on the matter. It will be the thirty-first time that conservatives have tried to shoot down the health care law, according to MSNBC.

It is not a new tact for Republicans. In 2010 the House Ways and Means Committee issued a report estimating that the IRS will need as many as 16,500 expensive new employees to handle the extra burden. However, the IRS disputes that number.

IRS answers charges

Dean Patterson, a spokesman for the IRS, wrote in an email:

“That is a made-up number with no basis in fact. The 2012 budget calls for about 1,200 employees for the IRS to implement the (Affordable Care Act), and the vast majority of those employees are needed to build technology infrastructure to support payments like the new tax credits for individuals and small businesses.”

Treasury spokeswoman Sabrina Siddiqui also countered the committee’s assertions:

“The overwhelming majority of funds used by the agency to implement the Affordable Care Act go to administer the premium tax credits, which will be a tax cut averaging about $4,000 for more than 20 million middle-class people and families.”


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