Trump Order Beats Back IRS

Feb 16, 2017

Among the executive orders signed by President Trump in the first days of his administration was a directive instructing executive branch agencies to ease off on enforcement of the Obamacare individual mandate, which requires US citizens either to provide proof of insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty, which bears the Soviet-style description of “shared responsibility payment.” This requirement is found in line 61 of the standard tax form. Those who claimed an exemption were required to fill out a supplemental document called form 8965. Filers who declined to answer the self-incriminating question would have their returns rejected by the IRS.

Taxpayers who were once required to fill out line 61 on their tax returns will now have the option of leaving it blank.Reason magazine points out that “Earlier this month, the IRS quietly altered its rules to allow 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.”

This change in policy, Reason insists, “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.”

While that administrative decision doesn’t provide unqualified protection from IRS abuses, it does beat back one of the most notorious features of the Obamacare initiative.