Patterico's Pontifications

3/22/2014

The Wire Also Screws Up the Matt Drudge “Liberty Tax” Story

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:11 pm

Arit John at The Wire joins the TPM/HuffPo/Tumulty triumvirate in screwing up the story about Matt Drudge’s pre-payment of the ObamaCare “liberty tax”:

Internet master Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report announced to the internet on Friday that he had paid the Obamacare individual mandate penalty, which he called a “liberty tax.” That’s unlikely.

The analysis is similar to the previously blogged TPM and HuffPo posts (and Karen Tumulty tweets), but I want to focus on an update with a blatant misstatement:

Update, Saturday: The Wire reached out to the H&R Block Tax Institute, which said you’re free to over pay your tax obligation on your quarterly estimated tax form, but the IRS has “no way to designate it as penalty prepayment.” The line item for “other taxes owed” doesn’t mention the health law penalty, and the IRS still needs to offer guidance over several aspects of the penalty, the company said in an email.

“The line item for ‘other taxes owed’ doesn’t mention the health law penalty”?? The hell it doesn’t. I covered this in my previous post, and will republish the screenshot here:

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 1.02.31 PM

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 1.02.44 PM

The weird part is, the next paragraph of the update quotes exactly that language, but the significance of it seems lost on the Wire blogger:

“When the return is filed (in 2015) the overpayment of the estimated taxes likely would get netted against all taxes due and cover the penalty,” according to H&R Block. The actual estimated tax form states the mandate should be paid with the 2014 return next year, though “you may want to consider this when figuring your ‘Other taxes’” owed.

Um, it says “you may want to consider this when figuring your ‘Other taxes’ owed” right now, as part of your estimated taxes that you have to pre-pay.

Although, as I noted in my previous post, there is an obscure Treasury regulation (.pdf) that says the government won’t come after you for not pre-paying the ObamaCare “penalty” (actually ruled a “tax” by the Supreme Court), anyone filling out the Estimated Tax Worksheet would be led to believe they need to pre-pay the ObamaCare payment. For the Wire to say otherwise, and claim that the form does not mention the health care payment, is just sloppy and wrong.

I’ll contact the Wire and explain the error, as I did with TPM and Huffo and Tumulty. All three of them have so far ignored me. Any bets on how the Wire guy will handle it?

12 Responses to “The Wire Also Screws Up the Matt Drudge “Liberty Tax” Story”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. Do you really think they’re “screwing it up?” Or are they once again joining, enabling, participating in, and perpetrating the big lie.

    elissa (94cb27)

  3. What elissa said.

    nk (dbc370)

  4. Drudge might as well have said, “All Obama lap dogs, get up on your hind legs and yip loudly”.

    nk (dbc370)

  5. Sometimes dogs make little accidental leakage puddles when they get all excited and stand on their back legs and yip. I hate when that happens.

    elissa (94cb27)

  6. “The Wire reached out to the H&R Block Tax Institute”

    Bwahahaha! H&R Block is their go-to guys? Everyone in my family has a horror story to tell about their service. My brother advised his Daughters to avoid them -but did they listen? No, so now they, too, have a horror story. A CPA is the way to go if you got any sense.

    The most charitable thing I care to say is that when they give you advice or do your taxes:

    “They aren’t wrong”

    felipe (6100bc)

  7. Me too, what elissa said.

    felipe (6100bc)

  8. Yes, they have long since, removed all doubt, and lean toward enemy action.

    narciso (3fec35)

  9. The IRS instructions seem pretty clear (as IRS instructions go)

    1. You can ignore this whole issue of the health care penalty tax when figuring estimated taxes.

    2. The tax does not become due until you file your 2014 tax return or April 15, 2015, whichever is earlier.

    3. There is therefore no penalty for late payment involved.

    4. There are no estimated taxes due on the health care penalty – and probably, I suspect, on anything that fits into he category of “other taxes”

    5. But you may want to prepay it, in order not to have to cut a big (or bigger) check in 2015. This is purely financial, not legal, advice.

    5a. This is actually bad financial advice, as far as the health care tax penalty is concerned, because if it is not paid, the IRS cannot use its normal means to collect it. Furthermore, you may be able to claim hardship, but you won’t be able to claim hardship if you prepaid the tax.

    Someone could just avoid paying it, could be a scofflaw, and it wouldn’t be collected until the IRS owes you money, unless Congress changes the law, or the IRS discovers some other means. But…

    6. The IRS would like to trick people, so to speak, into paying it when they could get away with not paying it.

    Note: The IRS will never assume, in its instructions, that people will simply not pay a tax due, even if there is no means at its disposal to enforce is collection, or the person does not have the means to pay it. It will assume that people will always pay a tax when due, which in this case is only when you file your 2014 tax returns.

    Sammy Finkelman (798a49)

  10. I am so proud that we finally have an affordable, clear and concise federal program that provides medical services without fear or confusion. It provides care without consideration of status or affiliation. I do not understand how anyone could not be happy with the Affordable Care Act, nor ever criticize it’s intent.

    I think that Sammy summarized it’s intentions and simplicity in a way that all can understand.

    And, forgive me, if I don’t forget to remind you that it is affordable. Affordable. Affordable. Sometimes I get a little angry when the ignorant call it Obamacare.

    It is affordable. It is the Affordable Health Care Act. Affordable, affordable, affordable.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  11. The MFM is kind to prove that they are leftist lapdogs.

    JD (5c1832)

  12. I really love your website.. Excellent colors & theme.

    Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my very own
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    กระเป๋า prada (a13d63)


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