Health Care, Inheritance, and Miscellaneous Questions

Recent questions to the war tax resistance hotline (aka, the NWTRCC office, 800-269-7464) have been about inheritance and health care. It just so happens that we have updated the booklet in our Practical War Tax Resistance Series that deals with these topics. Look for #7, Health Care and Income Security for War Tax Resisters.

As anyone who has applied knows, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has not made shopping for health insurance easy for those of us not covered by an employer, Medicare, or other plan.

In addition, what makes it hard to counsel war tax resisters is that the options vary from state to state. Luckily we do have a network of counselors and contacts who can be called on to respond to questions unique to a certain state.

We’ve written about this whole health insurance puzzle over the last few years because of the key role the IRS plays in it. The 1040 now includes lines related to insurance coverage and forms for calculations related to the “premium tax credit” (subsidy) at the end of the year. It is through information provided on the 1040 that the IRS tracks who has health insurance, who qualifies for exemptions, and who will be penalized for not having insurance.

Today a call came from someone who files her taxes but does not have health insurance. In June she got a letter from the IRS demanding payment for $230 — her penalty for not having health insurance. She asked if there is a network of health insurance resisters, people like her who are angry about being forced to buy insurance from a big corporation or pay a penalty if they refuse. At a NWTRCC meeting a few years ago many expressed political problems with the ACA, mostly because of the role big insurance corporations played in creating the legislation, but we have not been part of a wider resistance.

Since the law was enacted some in our network who were already out of the system (non-filers, off-the-grid) have stayed out. Others have found tax benefits to having insurance through the Marketplace. They qualified for the premium tax credit and manage it in a way that reduces their income tax owed at the end of the year — another way to refuse to pay for war. Stories like these are in Practical #7.

This booklet also includes information about inheritances, with stories about how war tax resisters have talked with family members about potential inheritance and the problems of having money when you have a tax debt. In addition, there’s information about Social Security, retirement accounts, and thoughts on income security beyond the working years.

Please note that we are always collecting stories — war tax resistance information is not based on the letter of the law or what the IRS says, it’s based on what happens with real people in our network. Look at the stories in Practical #7 and those in the other Practicals, and consider sending a story for our publications to help add to our body of knowledge.

—Post by Ruth Benn