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Over the last few weeks, the IRS has quietly changed its rules to allow tax filers to leave line 61 blank — the line on their 1040s indicating whether they had maintained healthcare coverage last year or paid the tax penalty, per Obamacare's requirements.
After President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing agencies to ease the burden on citizens from the Affordable Care Act, the IRS is relaxing its enforcement of the rules. Whereas under the previous regime, a blank line 61 would result in automatic rejection of the 1040, sending it back to the filer to fill out, under the new rules, filling out line 61 will be optional, and won't result in automatic rejection.
It remains to be seen whether the IRS will follow up with enforcement of the tax penalty.
Recall that Obamacare, for the first time in history, made it legally mandatory to have health insurance coverage; if Americans failed to obtain coverage, they'd be fined a penalty. Tax filers had to fill in line 61 on their tax forms noting whether or not they had coverage for the last year. Now filling in the blank is optional.
"Processing silent returns means that taxpayer returns are not systemically rejected," said the IRS to Reason Magazine, "allowing them to be processed and minimizing burden on taxpayers, including those expecting a refund."
Obamacare's repeal is imminent; it only awaits the simple-majority vote from a Republican-controlled Congress. And at least one major insurer, readying for the federal healthcare regime's collapse, is bowing out of the health exchange at the close of the year: Humana.
Watch the panel discuss this and other executive orders in The Download—Obama Legacy Dismantled.