Fox News Stokes Fears of Obamacare Penalty That IRS Already Waived

A Fox News Special Report segment hyped fears that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could impose a penalty on taxpayers who received an advanced premium subsidy to help defer the cost of health care insurance. But the report failed to note that the IRS offers penalty relief to some taxpayers.

According to The New York Times, many ACA enrollees who qualified for a subsidy and chose to have it paid in advanced based on their projected 2014 income may have to pay for subsidy overpayments. The Times explained, if “their actual income was higher -- because they got a raise or found a new job -- they will be entitled to a smaller subsidy and must repay the difference, subject to certain limits.”

On the February 6 edition of Special Report, guest host Chris Wallace claimed that “many tax-payers are getting a nasty surprise courtesy of the president's health care law.” White House correspondent Kevin Corke reported that millions could have to pay a tax penalty due to the overpayment of income-based federal subsidies to purchase health insurance under the ACA. Corke claimed that “millions may have underestimated their tax snapshot and now have to pay”:

But Corke failed to report that the IRS announced that it would waive the penalty. According to Bloomberg, only “people who received subsidized health insurance during 2014” will be eligible for a waiver:

The IRS will waive penalties for making that payment late or for failing to pay estimated taxes throughout 2014. Taxpayers must send in a letter for a penalty waiver. They still must pay the taxes within a year and will owe interest after April 15, the due date for individual tax returns.