Collecting bigger health insurance opt-out tax tough

Published: Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 - 7:10 am

Re “The ‘young invincibles’ skip health insurance” (In the spotlight, Dec. 8): Akhilesh Pathipati might want to study tax law before he writes any more op-ed articles. While a penalty may be assessed on a young adult for not buying federally mandated health insurance, the Internal Revenue Service cannot collect the penalty if the person has no tax refunds to assess the penalty against. Thus, if a savvy young person withholds enough tax so that he is not entitled to a refund on his 2014 income taxes, there will be no funds for the IRS to grab. The IRS is limited in its power because failure to buy health insurance is not a criminal matter. The IRS cannot go after persons who do not buy insurance by garnishing their wages or otherwise initiating any collection action, absent any refunds the taxpayer would be entitled to receive.

-- Curt Miller, Davis

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