WASHINGTON – Oct. 29, 2013 – A false Facebook post making the rounds claims that if you don’t pay the penalty for not buying health insurance, the IRS can file a lien against your home.
The health care reform law requires individuals who don’t meet one of the law’s exemptions to buy an insurance plan that meets minimum requirements or face a penalty. The law set up online state insurance exchanges to simplify cost comparisons among plans and to make purchasing a plan easy. Open enrollment for these insurance plans on the online exchanges began Oct. 1 and runs through March 2014, though the website has had numerous technical challenges so far.
Those who choose to forego insurance by the open-enrollment deadline will be penalized $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater. That penalty will go up to $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016.
However, it’s not true that the IRS can file a lien against a home if the owner fails to pay the penalty.
Though the IRS does have the authority to garnish wages and file liens to collect unpaid taxes, the Affordable Care Act explicitly prohibits it from using such measures to collect health-insurance penalties, according to Kaiser Health News, an independent nonprofit news organization dedicated to covering U.S. health policy.
Instead, Kaiser Health News says the IRS will withhold the penalty from a tax return.
Source: Evan Liddiard, Marcia Salkin
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