Senator Pat Roberts used a Senate Finance Committee Internal Revenue Service hearing to question to authority of the IRS to enforce some parts of the new health care bill and the legislation’s effects on small business.
“During the health care debate, I cautioned Americans that the bill would expand the reach of the IRS as they attempt to enforce the many tax provisions in the bill,” Roberts said. “I raised concerns that the IRS does not have the resources to effectively carry out their primary mission of tax collection, let alone administering and enforcing the requirement that individual’s prove to the IRS that they have health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS for failure to obtain insurance.”
Roberts concerns center on how the IRS will 1)provide proof that individuals have or have not purchased health insurance and 2)cross-check and verify the validity of any insurance purchased.
“What if an individual doesn’t have a tax liability,” Roberts said, “doesn’t need to file a return, but is required to pay the penalty for not having insurance? How will the IRS enforce this provision?”
Steven T. Miller, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, IRS and Nina Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate, IRS, both testified during the hearing.
In his press release Thursday, Roberts includes a recent comment from IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman who notes that there are currently no criminal sanctions for not paying for health insurance and that the IRS does not have the authority to improve sanctions on people.
Roberts noted that he also questioned the fate of small businesses once the two-year tax credit phases out. He also made sure to note that he opposes the health care bill.
Like many republicans, in Washington and elsewhere, Roberts is continuing to fight to repeal or at least poke holes in the new law.