Obamacare has been the albatross that’s kept our economy from really gaining any momentum, but its end is officially in sight.
In January, President Trump signed an executive order instructing the Internal Revenue Service to provide taxpayers relief from the bitched healthcare law, and the agency just responded in kind, according to Reason. The IRS was about to implement a rule change requiring filers to tell the agency whether or not they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty, as required by law, but thanks to President Trump the rules won’t be put in place.
The move will be a major relief to those expecting a return who couldn’t afford either the coverage or the penalty.
More on the IRS’s change from Reason:
For most filers, filling out line 61 would be mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled “silent returns” and rejected.
Instead, however, filling out that line will be optional.
Earlier this month, the IRS quietly altered its rules to allow the submission of 1040s with nothing on line 61. The IRS says it still maintains the option to follow up with those who elect not to indicate their coverage status, although it’s not clear what circumstances might trigger a follow up.
But what would have been a mandatory disclosure will instead be voluntary. Silent returns will no longer be automatically rejected. The change is a direct result of the executive order President Donald Trump issued in January directing the government to provide relief from Obamacare to individuals and insurers, within the boundaries of the law.
“The recent executive order directed federal agencies to exercise authority and discretion available to them to reduce potential burden,” the IRS said in a statement to 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.”
The tax agency says the change will reduce the health law’s strain on taxpayers. “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 said.
What may seem like a minor change to some is actually a major step in removing the teeth from the law. While the individual mandate still remains in place, one of its main enforcement mechanisms has been greatly weakened, which will likely make it easier for individuals to go without coverage while avoiding the cumbersome penalty.
An act of Congress is still required to remove the mandate altogether; however, taxpayers can still breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the agency is easing its enforcement while we lie in wait for the GOP-led Congress to repeal and replace the terrible legislation.