Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax Compliance Form Hoax

A client told me today that his wife received an “Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax Compliance Form” that the IRS is now requiring. I told him that I found that hard to believe and asked him to fax it to me.

When I received the form pictured here, obamacare hoax I found that it was a hoax perpetrated by anti-health-care activists to incite opposition to the Affordable Care Act. If you look carefully at the bottom of the first page and the upper right corner of the second page, it states that this is not a real IRS form.

The perpetrators of this scam clearly find the facts insufficiently persuasive in supporting their position. Since the facts of the Affordable Care Act do not support repeal, they find it necessary to resort to mendacious stunts intended to fool the unsuspecting.

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2013 John B. Payne, Attorney
 
 

The Elephant in the Gunroom

Although it is difficult to enter a conflict as contentious and publicly debated as gun control without repeating well worn arguments of the pundits, talk-show callers, Fox News talking heads and anti-gun activists, there is still an elephant in the gunroom. Neither the National Rifle Association nor the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence explicitly discusses the rationale for permitting private citizens to own semi-automatic military-style rifles with 30-round magazines – armed insurrection.

A middle-aged woman in a private conversation stated that the purpose of owning an AK-47 or Bushmaster AR-15 is for defense against the government! This was a stunning assertion from someone who does not own any firearms. It also betrayed a profound lack of insight into the issue.

Second Amendment fanatics prattle about comprising a “militia,” and preach protection against “government excess,” but this is never explained in plain terms. Certainly the ramifications are not explored. Anyone who critically examines the NRA’s reasons for permitting the ownership of assault weapons must realize that they are absurd.

As a veteran of the ‘60s, I have given much thought to the possibility of armed revolution in the United States. Seeing tanks on the streets of Detroit and police officers and sheriff’s deputies lining streets in Ann Arbor nearly shoulder to shoulder, it would be difficult not to imagine that a revolution might be starting. Friends who were politically aligned with the Students for a Democratic Society and the Weathermen sometimes told me that when the revolution started they would put in a good word for me. They were only half joking.
Wounded Knee 1973

This country has seen many armed confrontations between citizens and the government, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the Civil War, to Wounded Knee, 1890 and 1973, to MOVE, and to Waco. They have always ended badly for the insurrectionists due to the overwhelming force that the U.S. government is able to bear on the situation. Federal agents may be reluctant to use force due to public-relations concerns – concerns that are not shared by governments in Syria, North Korea, Algeria, and other countries – but the end point is always the same. The insurrectionists are subdued or dead.

Back in the day, surrounded by angry Aquarians, it was possible to imagine that real change was on the horizon. We would topple the regime and destroy the “military-industrial complex.” However, that was a dope dream. Not only would we be confronting the massive police and military might of the government, a huge majority of our fellow citizens would actively oppose our insurrection. This country is too diverse for a revolution and most of the population has too great an investment in the status quo to support radical change. Groups who would support a change in one direction are counter-balanced by opposing groups.

As a member of the Viet Nam-era anti-war movement, it was easy to lose perspective. We were able to muster five-figure crowds for protest marches, but we were still a minority, as were the ardent pro-war activists. We would never have succeeded by bombing recruitment offices or shooting at police. Violence is counter-productive, as the real leaders of the civil-rights movement demonstrated. The most important violent act for the anti-war movement was when the Ohio National Guard killed four Kent State students on May 4, 1970. This incident inspired previously-uncommitted citizens to oppose the war much more effectively than marches and draft card burning.

Kent_State_massacre

What would have been the result if the Branch Davidians or the MOVE activists had been better armed? Only greater bloodshed. The government would not throw in the towel. The Black Panthers were very well armed, but Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were killed in an early morning assault on their home, without the opportunity to defend themselves. The Michigan Militia is allowed to play war games in the woods, but if it became apparent that they were trying to create an independent republic or that they were defying the legally constituted government in a significant way, they would be rounded up like Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Patty_Hearst

Unfortunately, fanatics get caught up in a spiral of more and more outlandish rhetoric. As their claims get more bizarre, they and their followers stretch their own credulity and come to believe their own exaggerations. The result is that they drink the Kool-Aid or barricade themselves in a booby-trapped compound. The NRA is no exception.

Second Amendmentaries have a strange idea that at some point it might be necessary for Real Americans to throw off the yoke of oppression by armed rebellion. Timothy McVeigh or Anders Breivik might believe that a few thousand well-armed and determined patriots might overthrow the government, but no one who is at least as sane as Nicki Minaj would harbor such a delusion.

As a legitimate rationale for opposing a ban on military-style weapons with high-capacity magazines, defending our liberties fails the scratch-and-sniff test. If you scratch the surface of the argument, you immediately smell bovine manure. The firearms industry and Second Amendment fanatics are trying to convince the gullible and paranoid that it is patriotic to maintain an arsenal to defend against the government. If there is logic to this position, it escapes me. However, it sells Bushmasters.

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2013 John B. Payne, Attorney
 
 

Supreme Court Media Whore

The Supreme Court does not allow cameras in the courtroom, but Chief Justice John Roberts is his own brand of media whore. He could have announced when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act decision would be handed down – many were expecting it today – but he wants to build suspense.

He is playing it the way television contest shows do it:

“We are down to Stymie and Fermi. Who will be the next American Idle? Stymie, you sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘Happy Birthday.’ You danced the tarantala and the stumba. Fermi, you played ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ on the Sousaphone.  You sang a bar of soap and rolled your eyes in opposite directions.  Our panel of judges has voted. America has voted. Our shaman has cast sheep’s knuckle bones and read chickens’ entrails. Stymie and Fermi, you are going to find out who won after these commercials.”

As if the PPACA decision needed more drama, Roberts has to drag the suspense out until tomorrow – or Wednesday – or Thursday. Come on, Johnny, drop the freaking bomb! The decision went to the printers weeks ago. Do you really have to be such a drama queen? Just give us the answer.

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2012 John B. Payne, Attorney
 
 

President Obama Amnesthetizes the Kids

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, also known as the DREAM Act by acronym junkies, has been pending in both houses of Congress for years. It would help young people who came to the United States as minors. They are in a legal limbo: Otherwise law-abiding, they have no way to achieve legal residence. This was discussed in this blog on September 18, 2011.

Because Congress has been unwilling to act, on June 15, 2012, President Obama issued an executive order that allows roughly the same population permission to remain in the country and obtain two-year renewable workpermits. This would not be a comprehesive cure of the legal status of young adults who have proven their value as potential citizens, but it is step in the right direction.

The opposition is crying, “Foul!” Surprise, surprise!

Mitt Romney said on “Face the Nation,” “We need to get this done on a long-term basis, not this kind of stop-gap measure. What the president did — he should have worked on this years ago. If he felt seriously about this, he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate. But he didn’t. He saves these things for four-and-a-half months before the general election.” Significantly, Mr. Romney did not pledge to overrule the executive order, if elected.

Mr. Romney’s memory problems raise questions about his fitness for office. Has he forgotten that President Obama has been trying to pass the DREAM Act over Republican opposition since taking office? Mr. Romney criticizing the President for taking a stop-gap action when his own party is blocking legislation is like the president of the Teamsters criticizing a shipping company for not making deliveries while the truck drivers are on strike.

The President gets two thumbs up for taking badly-needed action to help young Americans find their places in the sun. This was a political move, and a canny one, but Mr. Romney has not ground for complaint. The Republicans have had three years to get on board and pass the DREAM Act. Not having done so, the handed the opportunity to act to Mr. Obama.

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2012 John B. Payne, Attorney
 
 

Tax Dodges for Sale on the Internet

A reader of Debtor and Attorney Burned in Asset Protection Scheme asked about an asset protection scheme he found here. He wanted to know whether a “508 Trust” will really provide the kinds of protection the website claims. In a word, “No.”

The website provides do-it-yourself estate-planning documents that could work like a revocable living trust to help organize your assets and (maybe) avoid probate on your death. However, DIY estate planning is very dangerous unless you really know what you are doing and to know what you are doing would take the equivalent of three or four college classes. You would have to study wills, trusts, income tax, personal property, real estate, and probate, among other subjects. Otherwise, you are groping around in the dark.

The website’s claims about tax avoidance and creditor protection are malicious fabrications. There is no hidden mystery in IRC § 508 that will hide a family’s income or assets from either the Internal Revenue Service or a creditor. Section 508 says that a faulty charity is treated as a “private foundation,” which means that it is not tax-exempt. Tax schemes like 508 Trusts are not sophisticated investment vehicles that take advantage of tax shelters, they are houses of cards that fall apart as soon as an IRS auditor breathes on them.

Ordinary citizens cannot take advantage of the tax dodges used by billionaires, such as private foundations and charities. Those types of entities have five- and six-figure price tags. They are not available for download for $500 or $1,000. Tax “gurus” who claim that they can set up trusts or other legal gimmicks to avoid taxes are either deluded or crooked. The best and the brightest tax attorneys and the best and the brightest regulators and legislators have been hammering out tax law since Egypt was ruled by a pharaoh. There is no miracle trust or legal entity that will make the individual’s or family’s income and assets fall off the IRS’s radar. Sorry, but that is the way it is.

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2012 John B. Payne, Attorney
 
 

The Weight of the Nation

“The Weight of the Nation” is a four-part documentary on the national obesity epidemic that starts May 14, 2012 on HBO. In a May 10, 2012 video editorial, “The Tax Code Diet: The Institute for Medicine gets political on obesity,” Dan Henninger and Joe Rago, of the The Wall Street Journal, mock the documentary and the Institute of Medicine report on which it is based. WSJ Article. Their neo-Con “all government is evil” attitude should be seen as an unqualified endorsement of companies that push unhealthy eating habits to maximize profits with no regard for the health of their consumers.

Henninger and Rago, neither of whom are obese, do not deny that the nation has a problem. However, they ridicule the idea that the government might have a role in encouraging healthy eating. They claim that what one eats is a matter of individual choice and that the government should not attempt to regulate food packaging and advertising. They further argue that unhealthy products like carbonated soft drinks loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and caffeine should not be taxed to subsidize anti-obesity and healthy diet programs and other health costs attributable to those products.

Do the neo-Cons oppose food-safety inspections and regulation to protect us from pathogens like salmonella or mad-cow disease? Some social Darwinists would place all responsibility for food safety on processors and vendors. They would say, “Let the market sort out which manufacturers poison us and should go out of business, but even most neo-Cons would agree that we rely on the government to enforce food safety rules. When we buy beef or carrots at Piggly Wiggly we have confidence that the products are not drenched in E. coli because of government oversight.

Our food supply may be free of disease-causing pathogens, but what about high-fructose corn syrup, salt, and aspartame? What about the absurd mounds of fat, sugar, cheap meat, carbohydrates, and salt that Applebees, Burger King, Cheesecake Factory and other restaurants call “meals.” People tend to be gullible and when the restaurant calls something a “meal,” many customers will assume that what they will be served is a reasonable portion for one person to eat at one sitting. The restaurant is playing on customer’s credulity when it serves an “appetizer” with 1,500 calories or delivers a mass of food that exceeds 2,300 calories and calls it a meal. At the very least, calorie counts should be displayed on the menu or bill of fare.

In the supermarket, trusting consumers are fooled by advertising and packaging into thinking that candy is a healthy breakfast and cookies are nutritious snacks. The frozen-food aisle is crammed with pre-prepared entrees labeled “heart-healthy” or “lean” that barely qualify as “food.” Judging by the ingredient lists, which are often barely legible, a product might be lasagna or animal shampoo. Few shoppers have the time or the ability to really decipher what they are buying. They do not realize that “organic” and “natural” and “fresh” and “heart-healthy” are just advertising gimmicks that have no meaning. Shoppers assume that the government keeps food processors, distributors and retailers honest. That is far from the case, with some reasonable reforms shoppers could have the protection they deserve.

Watch “The Weight of the Nation” with an open mind. There is a crisis of obesity in the United States and we must curb our eating – particularly with regard to children. By allowing our children to overeat we are condemning them to a lifetime of obesity and all of the health problems caused by excess weight. We as a nation must address the problem and the government has an important role to play.

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2012 John B. Payne, Attorney
 
 

Ryan Plan to Include “Life Panels”

House Republicans passed congressman Paul Ryan’s deficit-cutting budget plan on Thursday, March 29, 2012, potentially a crucial plank in their election-year campaign platform and a foil for Democratic attacks over the plan’s savings in health care. One little-noticed cost-saving provision establishes an additional hurdle for applicants for Medical Assistance, also known as Medicaid. Under the new requirement, adults must demonstrate a reason to live in order to qualify for Medicaid. Analysts estimate that this could eliminate up to 50% of current and potential adult Medicaid recipients. Savings in federal general fund dollars could exceed $687 billion over 10 years.

Under the proposed policy, individuals must demonstrate a reason to live, by clear and convincing evidence, to be eligible for Medicaid. Acceptable reasons include: a) Objectively measurable artistic ability, b) Ability to engage in aesthetically-pleasing musical, dramatic, or dance performance, c) Significant mathematic, scientific, rhetoric, inventive, religious, or political capacity, or d) Being held in high regard or loved by a significant number of unrelated individuals.

To establish objectively measurable artistic ability, applicants must present critical reviews by three recognized art critics, unless paid by the individual or family members. The reviews do not have to be positive. In the art world negative reviews are considered to be more desirable and reliable than positive reviews.

Ability to engage in aesthetically-pleasing musical, dramatic, or dance performance may be verified by YouTube ratings or participation in juried competition. The individual need not win a competition, but must survive at least first-round elimination for the competition to qualify as clear and convincing evidence of a reason to live. Hip-hop is not considered music under the bill and waiving a sparkler on the Fourth of July is not considered a “dance,” unless the individual is able to wave a flag at the same time, without setting the flag on fire.

To support a finding of a reason to live by reason of mathematic, scientific, rhetoric, or inventive capacity, the individual must demonstrate that he or she is as smart as, but not necessarily smarter than, a fifth-grader. Religious capacity may be shown by a healing or other miracle within the previous 12 months. The individual is considered to have political capacity if supportive of the TEA Party. Liberal political inclinations are automatically disqualifying.

Being held in high regard or loved by a significant number of unrelated individuals may be shown by notarized testimonials of unrelated third parties. Testimonials of relatives are not considered, as relatives are conclusively presumed to be biased in favor of the individual. Paid caregivers, treatment providers, and employees of the institutions where the individual resides are disqualified from attesting to the individual being held in high regard or loved.

The bill would establish a “Life Panel” in each of the 57 states. These life panels would determine whether indigent adults have sufficient reason to live to be granted medical care. According to House Speaker John Boehner, the “life panels” are “totally opposite” to the “death panels” established by Obabamacare. The Speaker stated, “It’s as different as putting your pants on one leg at a time is from putting your legs in your pants one leg at a time. It’s as different as putting your hat on your head is from putting your head in your hat. They are as different as a Xerox machine and a copier.”

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi responded, “Life panels and death panels are the same thing. The Republicans are imitating us. We call on the President to make them stop imitating us. If they won’t stop imitating us, we will start imitating them. We’ll see how they like it!”

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2012 John B. Payne, Attorney