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Obamacare ‘surprise: More tax bill headaches

EDITORIAL BOARD
January 26. 2015 6:00PM


If only someone had predicted that Obamacare would be a costly, monstrous burden to America.

Anyone who has watched television since the new year probably has seen those tax-preparation company ads in which the spokesman warns people that the Affordable Care Act will have a big impact on their taxes, so they should hire a professional this year. The ads are pretty good, but the company could have dispensed with the actor and simply quoted IRS spokesman Mark Hanson.

“We’re really encouraging taxpayers to consider using software or going to a professional, either volunteer or paid, to help them navigate the provisions of the Affordable Care Act,” Hanson said.

It turns out that a complex and opaque law governing Americans’ personal finances and health generates tons of work for lawyers and accountants. Who knew?

Several New Hampshire-based tax preparers told this newspaper last week that they expect Obamacare to bring them many more clients this year, and they expect those clients to be angry. To get a subsidy on the health insurance exchange, people had to estimate their annual income. If they pegged it too low, they got a bigger subsidy than the government allowed, and they will have to repay the difference. A lot of people are going to owe more than they anticipated.

According to federal data, 40,262 Granite Staters bought health insurance on the exchange last year. State data show that 88 percent of them got federal subsidies.

All of this cost and complexity just to make health insurance more “affordable.” Surely Americans do not believe that this is the only or the best way to accomplish that goal.


Editorial