Friday, August 22, 2014

Obamacare Schadenfreude: Form Follows Function?

Obamacare tax forms may pose challenge for enrollees, exchanges
Obamacare customers won’t be able to file their tax returns next year until the government sends them a form detailing their coverage and tax credits, and if those forms are late some taxpayers could face a delay in seeking their refunds.

Federal and state officials said they’re working on the forms, known as the 1095A, and vowed to meet the Jan. 31 deadline for issuing them. But some tax professionals are skeptical, citing the administration’s iffy track record on being able to meet other deadlines in the massive health overhaul law.

“It really strains credulity to think 1095A is not going to be a big problem,” said George Brandes, vice president for health programs at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

Filers need the forms to calculate whether they received the correct subsidy from the government, or if they owe money to cover a difference.
To the legislator, the judge and the lawyers, the law is the important thing, but to the bureaucrat, the form is the key. The form is what you use to force people to abide by your vision of the law. If they don't fill out the form correctly, you fail to receive the benefit for which you are pleading, or the freedom to pursue your dreams. Lois Lerner helped design tax forms.

The fact that they have not yet figured out how to incorporate Obamacare into the existing structure of forms suggests how radical the changes the law has imposed to the tax and healthcare systems.

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