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Barrasso: IRS Auditing Americans' Health Care


Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke about how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will enforce the unprecedented tax increases included in the President's health care law.

Excerpts of his remarks are below:

"Everyone in Washington is talking about the fiscal cliff and the tax increases that might come from that.

"But today, I want to talk about something different--and those are the tax increases that are coming regardless of what happens with the fiscal cliff. And those are the tax hikes that were seeing because of President Obama's health care law.

"People who have been following this closely, know that the President's health care law guarantees that middle class families will pay higher taxes.

"The President promised repeatedly that he would not raise taxes on the middle class.

"He said, "If you're a family making less than $250,000 a year, my plan won't raise your taxes one penny.' He went on to say, "…not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.'

"But once he got into office, President Obama arranged for his health care plan to be written behind closed doors, Democrats in Congress passed it, and they did it strictly along party lines.

"This law included more than 20 different tax increases. These tax increases amount to more than a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. Of those, a dozen taxes specifically targeted middle class taxpayers. The most famous of course, is the individual mandate tax.

"That's the one that requires all Americans buy a government approved health insurance plan. If they don't--for even one single month out of the year--then they have to pay the tax.

"It is the tax that's going to hit families harder than single people--and it's going to hit the middle class harder than wealthier Americans.

"By 2016, 4.7 million low and middle income households will face a tax for not buying government approved health insurance.

"This leads me to another aspect of the health care law that the White House and the Democrats have not been eager to talk about.

"And it's the role specifically related to this tax--and that's the role of the IRS, the Internal Revenue Service.

"The law gives the IRS unprecedented new powers to probe into taxpayers' lives.

"Right after the election, and they waited until after the election, the Obama Administration started releasing a wave of new health care regulations. These include new rules on how the IRS plans to implement the new health care taxes.

"We do know that IRS agents are going to be verifying who bought health insurance, and taxing everyone who didn't.

"We know the IRS will be doing more tax audits for health care spending.

"We know the IRS will be able to confiscate, confiscate Americans tax returns. Why? To pay for health care taxes and to assess interest and late fees on people without insurance.

"We know we're going to see an army of new IRS agents and auditors. To do what? To investigate the health insurance choices of Americans and their families.

"The agency is going to have to collect a huge amount of data--not just from insurance companies, but from the American people.

"The IRS is going to want to know details like the costs and the benefit structure of every person's health insurance policy. They're going to want to know who in each household is covered, and how long they've been covered.

"They'll want to know the incomes people reported to their insurance company, and what other kind of coverage their employer may have offered.

"To get all this information, the Internal Revenue Service will have to develop new layers, additional layers of red tape for businesses and for families--new forms, new filing procedures, and new instructions.

"And it's going to have to come up with some way for taxpayers to resolve any discrepancies--and there are going to be a lot--between what their tax returns may say and the data that the insurance companies report.

"It's also clear that a lot of Americans are going to be defending themselves against audits.

"All of that is work the IRS is going to have to do just to get ready for this massive amount of new bureaucracy. The problem is, several independent reviews have found the agency is seriously unprepared.

"In one, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the IRS is not equipped to implement the law contained in what it called "the largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years.'

"The American people knew what they wanted from health care reform. What they asked for was the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at lower costs. That's what the President and Democrats promised them.

"It turns out what the American public has gotten is less choice, more regulations, and higher taxes.

"Now, what these same people are learning is that the IRS is the chief federal enforcer for key parts of President Obama's health care law. And the people of my state, and the people around the country do not like it at all.

"What we're going to have as a result of the health care law is a much larger Internal Revenue Service. They're going to have broad new powers. Powers to investigate, powers to monitor, and powers to tax the American people.

"At the same time, there's real doubt about whether the agency is even up to the job. America's middle class families don't want, don't need, and cannot afford more taxes.

"They don't want, they don't need, and they cannot afford a more powerful Internal Revenue Service--with more agents looking into the details of their health care choices.

"But that is exactly what President Obama and every Democrat in this body has given them."

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