In a quiet rule change, but an important one, the IRS has told tax preparers and software firms that it won’t automatically reject tax returns that fail to state whether the tax filer had health insurance during the year. That effectively loosens enforcement of the ACA’s individual mandate. It appears to be a direct response to Trump’s Jan. 20 executive order requiring federal agencies “minimize...the economic and regulatory burdens of the Act.”
We observed at the time that the executive order would cripple ACA insurance exchanges, not only by signaling the Trump Administration’s open hostility to Obamacare, but by kicking a leg out from the regulatory stool supporting the act.
The IRS action its the first manifestation of that. The agency hasn’t announced its rule change publicly, but it was picked up by Peter Suderman of Reason and Kathleen Pender of the San Francisco Chronicle, who both reported it Tuesday.
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