Norquist: Obamacare's Tax War on Mothers

Sunday, 12 May 2013 08:39 AM

By Grover Norquist

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From the ATR website.

Grover Norquist's Perspective:
President Obama delivered a Mother's Day-pegged speech from the White House on Friday where he tromboned the supposed benefits of Obamacare for women. The president forgot to mention the 20 new or higher taxes in Obamacare, and the five that most hurt women:

1. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Tax: The 30-35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family's basic medical needs face a new Obamacare cap of $2,500. This will squeeze $13 billion of tax money from Americans over the next 10 years. (Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap.) Now, a parent looking to sock away extra money to pay for braces will find themselves quickly hitting this new cap, meaning they would have to pony up some or all of the cost with after-tax dollars.

Needless to say, this tax will especially impact middle class families.

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. Nationwide there are several million families with special needs children and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax provision will limit the options available to these families.

2. Obamacare High Medical Bills Tax: Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Obamacare now imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Therefore, Obamacare not only makes it more difficult to claim this deduction, it widens the net of taxable income.

According to the IRS, 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction in 2009, the latest year of available data. Almost all are middle class. The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earned just over $53,000 annually. ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family claiming this tax benefit will be $200-$400 per year.

3. Medicine Cabinet Tax. This tax increase is already in effect. Since January of 2011, Americans have not been able to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines from their Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. Women often rely on over-the-counter medicines to get themselves and their families through the colds, fevers, and aches and pains of daily family life. To raise taxes on busy moms makes absolutely no sense.

4. Obamacare Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax:
Starting in 2014, anyone not buying "qualifying" health insurance — as defined by President Obama's Department of Health and Human Services — must pay an income surtax to the IRS. The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that six million American families will be liable for the tax, and as pointed out by the Associated Press: "Most would be in the middle class."

In addition, 100 percent of Americans filing a tax return (140 million filers) will be forced to submit paperwork to the IRS showing they either had "qualifying" health insurance for every month of the tax year or they obtained an exemption to the mandate.

Americans liable for the surtax will pay according to the following schedule:

1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1 percent AGI/$95 1 percent AGI/$190 1 percent AGI/$285
2015 2 percent AGI/$325 2 percent AGI/$650 2 percent AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5 percent AGI/$695 2.5 percent AGI/$1,390 2.5 percent AGI/$2,085

5. Obamacare 10 Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning: This Obamacare tax increase has the distinction of being the first to go into effect (July 2010). Slipped into the bill by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., behind closed doors in the middle of the night, this tax hike replaced the planned Obamacare "Botax" on cosmetic surgery. This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax affects both the business owner and the end user. Industry estimates from the Indoor Tanning Association show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women. There is no exception granted for those making less than $250,000 meaning it is yet another tax that violates Obama's "firm pledge" not to raise "any form" of tax on Americans making less than this amount.

Making matters worse: According to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report, the Obama IRS didn't bother to issue compliance guidelines until three quarterly filing deadlines had passed: "By the time [IRS] notices were issued, tanning excise tax returns had been due for three quarters." This is yet another sign that the Obama administration is ill-prepared for Obamacare implementation.

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform, a coalition of taxpayer groups, individuals, and businesses opposed to higher taxes at the federal, state, and local levels. The coalition organizes the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which asks all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases. Read more reports from Grover Norquist — Click Here Now.

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