Experts say Limbaugh is correct on one point: The IRS lacks teeth in enforcing the individual mandate. The Affordable Care Act prohibits it from using liens or levies to collect the penalties, tools the agency regularly employs to collect other unpaid taxes. Nor can it criminally prosecute anyone for failing to pay up.
“One would need to make sure that he/she is not due a refund … [T]he point Limbaugh makes about refund filers, while a bit coarse, is true,” said Robert Kerr, senior director of government relations at the National Association of Enrolled Agents.
But the fines can build up, with interest, so ignoring the penalties could come back to haunt negligent taxpayers, some experts said.
Well, there's a break for you ... the ones who are most likely to end up paying the fine are the ones who are the lowest on the income food chain.
Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at Jackson Hewitt, says Limbaugh’s assertion “may have limited relevance for many Americans” — not only because most Americans get a tax refund but because those most likely to be hit with the penalty are also more likely to get some sort of tax credit from the government, such as the earned income tax credit for the working poor.
“Additionally, the proportion receiving refunds is even higher among taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes between $15,000 and $50,000, which is a demographic that is disproportionately likely to be uninsured,” he said.