The Tax You Don’t Have to Pay

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on February 27, 2015

The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.

The Tax You Don’t Have to Pay
“Taxpayers are already telling their accountants they plan to stiff the IRS on the Obamacare tax, saying they figure the chances the agency comes after them for a few hundred bucks are pretty slim, and it makes sense to take the risk,” the Washington Times reports:

Still other taxpayers are recoiling when they find out they owe far more than the $95 minimum penalty for not having insurance in 2014, said Christopher Wittich, an accountant in Minnesota.

“And that’s a big problem for them,” he said. “They don’t have 200 bucks.” . . .

Indiana accountant Scott Frick said one of his clients, told he would have to fork over $850 for going without insurance last year, thought about the IRS and decided not to pay, just to “see what happens.”

Try this with any other tax—including those enacted as part of ObamaCare, such as the “net investment tax”—and you’ll wish you hadn’t. But the individual mandate tax, as the Times notes, is special: “Under the 2010 law the IRS cannot pursue criminal penalties or put liens on the property of people who ignore the Affordable Care Act’s mandate”:

“All the IRS can do to get the money is ask an individual to pay it, and, if they don’t, reduce their future refunds,” said Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, who oversees tax policy.

IRS officials pointed to a similar explanation on its website, which says it can’t issue liens or levies, but “if you owe a shared responsibility payment, the IRS may offset that liability against any tax refund that may be due to you.”

Congressional Democrats defanged the IRS for this purpose in hope of limiting their own exposure to political poison. The result is inevitable: Pass a law not meant to be enforced, and public respect for the law diminishes.

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