Randall S. van Reken, EA, CFP, ATP

Tax Man LLC

2013 Winter Rant - More Obamacare

When is Enough, Enough?

It’s time for my annual winter commentary on tax issues, changes and challenges facing all of us.  I suggest you remain seated.

Thankfully Congress has been relatively inactive this year on tax changes affecting 2013 return, but unfortunately the delayed enactment of their previous stupidity . . . er . . . legislation will cause both more confusion and cost you more tax dollars.  And now that socialized medicine is enforced by the IRS, the future ain’t lookin’ so good either.  I’ve already been to one seminar discussing ways to counteract the expected tax fraud due to Obamacare.  It seems the crooks have already figured out ways to cheat the system.

Initially when we heard Nancy Pelosi’s famous comment, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” we thought it was laughable.  We’re not laughing any more; we’re crying.  This woman is clearly the poster child for Congressional term limits.  You’ve heard the old protest from American Revolution, “No taxation without representation!”  I think the new slogan should be, “No legislation without comprehension.”  Nobody had a clue what this thing will do.  I’m not sure they know even now.  I don’t know what they were smoking when they passed this, but it is clear that everybody inhaled.

Forget the politics, forget the website problems, forget the selective applications of the law, forget the death panels, forget the required maternity coverage for senior citizens and single men?!?  Forget all of that:  I’m just talking about the tax issues.  Remember that this is the law that would make you send a 1099 to Best Buy if you bought an iPad to use in your business.  Thankfully that got repealed after much public outcry.

Some of the “normal” tax increases coming from Obamacare include:

  • Making deductions for medical expenses tougher to deduct.  If your floor for a deduction was $7,500 in 2012, that floor jumps 1/3 to $10,000 before you get any deduction help in 2013.
  • Previous allocations to your job’s Cafeteria (or Section 125 plan) for medical care were not limited.  Now the max is only $2,500, so don’t get too sick.
  • Higher wage earners have a potential 62% jump in Medicare taxes.
  • Higher income folks with investment income (dividends, rents, capital gains, partnerships, interest) have a potential tax jump of 58% on investment income.
  • The 10% indoor tanning tax.  (My personal favorite)
  • Health insurance policies have 3 new taxes imposed on them.  My own policy for 2014 will be up $431 just for these taxes plus the regular rate increase.

2014 will be even worse, MUCH worse.

The whole idea here was to provide coverage for tens of millions more people for less money with better coverage.  Just stop and think about the inherent mathematical stupidity of that premise.  It’s simply not possible.

My health insurance policies have taken the following path for the last few years:

My 2010 insurance company quit the health insurance business within 45 days after Obamacare passed and wouldn’t provide coverage in 2011 (I thought I could keep my plan if I wanted it).
My 2012 premium increased 7.4% over my 2011 premium.
My 2013 premium increased 30.5% over my 2012 premium.
My 2014 premium increased 6.3% over my 2013 premium (and my deductible jumped $500).

The total increase from 2011 to 2014 with lesser coverage is a staggering 49.2%.

And because of the 17 day government shutdown (13 business days), the IRS has already said that refunds will be slower this filing season because they can’t get ready in time.  That brings up the old joke:

Q:           What don’t they give IRS agents coffee breaks?

A:            Because it takes too long to retrain them.