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Friday, October 24, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Informer: IRS to enforce health law’s individual mandate

Last Modified: Saturday, October 05, 2013 6:10 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

Now that we have Obamacare in place, who is responsible for enforcement of the individual mandate that requires all individuals to have health insurance and apply for it, and what are the penalties for failing to comply?

The Internal Revenue Service will enforce the mandate, which it refers to as the “individual shared responsibility provision.”

The penalty, assessed as an additional tax liability, will depend on how many people are in a family and how many months its members go without health insurance.

The total will be the greater of either a flat amount, assessed per family member, or a percentage of family income.

The flat amounts will be $95 per adult in 2014, $325 in 2015 and $695 in 2016; the penalty amount per child will be half of the adult amount. A family’s total flat penalty can’t exceed $285 in 2014, $975 in 2015 and $2,085 in 2016.

The income percentage penalty will be 1 percent in 2014, 2 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent in 2016.

“Income is defined as total income in excess of the filing threshold ($10,000 for an individual and $20,000 for a family in 2013),” reads a note on a flow chart compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation to explain the mandate.

“The penalty is pro-rated by the number of months without coverage, though there is no penalty for a single gap in coverage of less than 3 months in a year. The penalty cannot be greater than the national average premium for Bronze coverage in an Exchange. After 2016 penalty amounts are increased annually by the cost of living.”

The law prohibits the IRS from placing liens on property owned by those who fail to pay the fine, and it bars the agency from seeking “any criminal prosecution or penalty” against them.

According to a Congressional Research Service report released in July, those who don’t pay the penalty when they file their federal tax returns will receive notices from the IRS — which, if payment remains unforthcoming, will dock the money from those taxpayers’ future refunds.

Those who don’t have to comply with the individual mandate include the following:

People covered by a religious exemption.

People in the country illegally.

Prison inmates.

Members of Indian tribes.

People whose family income falls below the income threshold.

Those whose health care costs exceed 8 percent of their income, after tax credits or employer contributions.

Online: www.irs.gov; http://kff.org/health-reform; www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41331.pdf.



Calcasieu Point park not sold or closing

I was told that Calcasieu Point was sold to a new industrial company coming to Lake Charles and that Calcasieu Point would be closed in about two years. Is this true?

No, said Bryan Beam, the parish administrator.

“Calcasieu Point Landing, located off of Big Lake Road near the Industrial Canal and operated by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, has not been sold, and is not closing,” Beam wrote in an email.

“To the contrary, the Police Jury is currently constructing additions to the park, including an open-air pavilion, a large shaded seating area and a restroom building. Calcasieu Point remains one of the most popular gateways for inland saltwater fishing in the region.”

Online: www.cppj.net.

• • •

The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com

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