There is part of this year’s tax form you do not need to fill out. Last year, under Obama if you left this blank, your tax return would have been rejected. This year, the IRS will process your return anyway.
Many people may have missed this turn of events but we can all thank President Trump for it. One of the more odious stipulations of Obamacare (Out of the vast number of odious things) is the individual mandate. In January President Trump sign an Executive order removing that requirement but too late to correct the 1040s for this year.
In the past, you were forced to fill out a section to prove you have a section of your tax form to prove you have insurance and if you don’t you get assessed a charge of $695 dollars for the year. This year you do not have to fill that section out, but if you do, you could owe the IRS that $695 bucks. So, whether you have insurance or not, do not fill that section out. The IRS can’t enforce the mandate without information.
“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.
The change may seem minor. But it makes it clear that following Trump’s executive order, the agency’s trajectory is towards a less strict enforcement process.
Although the new policy leaves Obamacare’s individual mandate on the books, it may make it easier for individuals to go without coverage while avoiding the penalty. Essentially, if not explicitly, it is a weakening of the mandate enforcement mechanism.
“It’s hard to enforce something without information,” says Ryan Ellis, a Senior Fellow at the Conservative Reform Network.