Will the IRS be able to manage the PPACA?

By Emily Hutto


The Supreme Court decision to uphold the PPACA means a lot of changes are in store for the IRS. And some media speculation suggests the organization isn't quite prepared for what's ahead.

When the 2010 Affordable Care Act was upheld two weeks ago, many Americans (including employers and insurance agents) realized that it's time to stop talking about this reform and actually start implementing it. Some are thrilled, others, like Texas Governor Rick Perry, refuse to comply with PPACA's new requirements. Many are finally considering what these new regulations will actually mean for their businesses.

This week, the Associated Press considered what impact PPACA will have on the IRS. An article by Stephen Ohlemacher asks, "Can the Internal Revenue Service police President Barack Obama's health care mandate while simultaneously collecting all the taxes for running the federal government?"

The article also answers this question: probably not.

PPACA mandates that the IRS provide tax breaks to help pay for health insurance. It will also have to penalize companies that don't offer health care to employees and individuals who don't purchase any coverage. The IRS will need new technology, forms, publications and employees to make this all happen, says the AP article.

It also points out that there are not laws in place to ensure that penalty fees for lack of insurance or coverage get paid. There are also no civil or criminal penalties for not paying these fees. So how does the IRS collect? "Scary letters and threats to withhold tax refunds," suggests Ohlemacher.

While the IRS says it is preparing for upcoming changes (it will likely spend about $881 million and hire 2,700 new employees to implement PPACA), it also hasn't made any public announcements about its future budget or hiring, according to the AP.

Another article on LifeHealthPro says that the IRS has set up a PPACA Executive Steering Committee with three program management offices and four operational divisions to oversee the changes. Ultimately, though, the article says the IRS has a lot more work to do.

While the media provides insight into the IRS' implementation of PPACA, we will all have to play the waiting game until the IRS makes a public announcement regarding its plans.

And you can bet on a lot more media speculation until then, too.

What's your take on the IRS' handling of PPACA?