Obamacare tax surprise: Millions of Americans could owe government more than they think

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Bbamacare, health care, higher taxes

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(NaturalNews) This fall, millions of already cash-strapped Americans will apply for taxpayer-funded government subsidies to help pay for their mandatory Obamacare coverage, which is set to begin next year. But according to new reports, individuals who incorrectly predict their future income on the subsidy forms, or who end up having lower income in 2012 than in 2013, will end up having to pay back some or all of the subsidy money back to the government, which could come as a major surprise for many people.

As reported by CBS News, October 1 marks the first day that Americans will be able to apply for federal government subsidies to purchase health care from private health insurance exchanges, which will reportedly be set up on a customized, state-by-state basis. But because the federal government has no idea how much income applying individuals will have next year, it can only go by this year's income levels, which could be higher or lower than next year depending on each individual's situation.

In other words, when next year's tax season approaches, individuals who made more in 2013 than they did in 2012, and who qualified for health care subsidies, will have to pay a portion of those subsidies back to the government. But the vast majority of American taxpayers have no idea that this is the case, and will be unpleasantly surprised when, on top of having to purchase government health care, they learn that they owe even more money back to the federal government for the ridiculous program.

"I think this will be the hardest thing for members of the public to understand because it is a novel aspect of this tax credit," says Catherine Livingston, who recently worked as a health care counsel for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), about the new system. "I can't think of what else they do in the tax system currently that works that way."

If you take the bait, prepare to pay the price

What this means is that taxpayers will have to very accurately predict their future income on this year's tax return, otherwise face penalties next year. You can think of it as a type of preemptive government handout that precipitates future liability in the event that income increases, a setup that is sure to cause much grief for individuals already struggling to make ends meet in this ever-floundering economy.

"It's potentially going to come as a shock to individuals who meet that criteria where their income hits a point where they owe money back," says Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight committee, as quoted by CBS News. "The fact is, with variations in income, people could end up owing money back and that will create consternation and problems for them."

Adding to the mess is the fact that many states' insurance exchanges are not even going to be ready by October 1, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). What was originally presented as a viable system for distributing health care equitably is quickly shaping up to become a "third-world experience," according to an Obamacare official in charge of the insurance exchange scheme.

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