Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A Michigan congressman has released a report from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation confirming that the House Democrats’ health-care bill could impose penalties of up to $250,000 in fines and five years in jail for failing to buy the proper insurance coverage.
“This is the ultimate example of the Democrats’ command-and-control style of governing – buy what we tell you or go to jail,” said U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich.
“It is outrageous and it should be stopped immediately,” he said today.
The letter of confirmation from the Joint Committee on Taxation was signed by Chief of Staff Thomas Barthold. His analysis confirmed individuals who fail to follow the rules actually could be penalized both with civil and criminal punishments.
“The Code provides for both civil and criminal penalties to ensure complete and accurate reporting of tax liability and to discourage fraudulent attempts to defeat or evade tax,” Barthold’s letter said. “Civil and criminal penalties are applied separately.
“Thus, a taxpayer convicted of a criminal tax offense may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties, and a taxpayer acquitted of a criminal tax offense may nonetheless be subject to civil tax penalties.”
He continued, “In cases involving both criminal and civil penalties, the IRS generally does not pursue both simultaneously, but delays pursuit of civil penalties until the criminal proceedings have concluded.”
Among the possible penalties available, he said, were:
Under Section 6662(a), 20 percent of an underpayment attributable to health care tax
Section 6663, a fraud penalty of 75 percent of the underpayment
Section 6702, a $5,000 penalty for taking a frivolous position on a tax return
Section 6651, a delinquency penalty of .5 percent under the underpayment, each month
Section 7203, a fine of $25,000 or jail up to one year
Section 7201, a fine of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.
According to Camp, the JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax “are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminals fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.”
He noted the Senate Finance Committee earlier worked on language that would shield Americans from such problems.
“Speaker Pelosi’s decision to leave in the jail time provision is a threat to every family who cannot afford the $15,000 premium her plan creates,” Camp said. “Fortunately, Republicans have an alternative that will lower health insurance costs without raising taxes or cutting Medicare.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the lowest cost family non-group plan under Pelosi’s health-care plan would cost $15,000 in 2016.
The health-care plan has been in the works for months but has been opposed by the GOP for a variety of reasons, including abortion coverage and the huge tax increases forecast to go along with it.
The president has had difficulty lining up support even among Democrats, because many moderates oppose the mandated abortion funding in the plan.