Ask TaxMama Issue 512 – To Your Health

Happy new film - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Dear Family,

Earlier this week Brent Clanton ( )and I were discussing the proposed batch of tax legislation facing Congress this month. One of the ways the Legislature and President Obama propose to pay for the health insurance and other tax breaks is to tax the ‘rich’ – those earning over $250,000. Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Let’s stick the top 3% of the entire U.S. taxpaying population with the bills to support all the rest of us. And let’s see just how fast those folks leave the United States for more reasonable countries (if there is such a thing)!

I know this will be a very unpopular sentiment, but…you know me. I just can’t resist. (Skip the following parapgraphs – you have been warned!)

Why are we expecting a few people to pay for the health insurance costs of millions of Americans who don’t presently have health insurance? That’s totally unreasonable.
—> The fact is, many of the folks who are presently uninsured would buy their own insurance if only the premiums did not cost more than their entire annual income. We do need subsidised or reduced-cost insurance, without a doubt.
—> Another fact, Americans are already subsidising medical care for the uninsured. They use the emergency room systems and trauma care centers. This cost us at least 5 times (or more) what routine doctor visits or clinics cost. If we simply cut out the abuse of the emergency system, the costs we’re already paying to support those visits can easily be transferred to cover the subsidised premiums without affecting the current budget shortfall. Heck, it might improve the budget!
—> Fact – yes, it is possible to have a government insurance agency that will not conflict with private health insurance businesses. Heck, such an agency could even remove some of the burden and costs from the private system. We already have models in place. I know of the Fair Plan in California that provides coverage for fire insurance. They insure building owners who cannot get coverage anywhere else. The system works just fine. Brent says that Texas has a similar agency that provides a variety of coverages. I’ll bet your state has something in place, too. So, please, don’t feel overwhelmingly concerned about the federal government getting into the insurance business.
—> Medical care providers, hospitals, etc. overbill extensively. I recently received the bill for my stay at the hospital to have my gall bladder removed. The hospital and related medical charges added up to $110,665.70 . Anthem Blue Cross paid $24,314.00. The hospital accepts this as full payment. What does that tell you? Does this mean that the hospital is losing money on medical care on insured patients? Or is the real cost less than 22% of the amount they invoice? And what happens to patients without insurance, but who have jobs and some assets? They end up having to cash in everything and overpaying their medical expenses because they don’t have the sophistication to hire a medical billing expert to review the bill and fight for them.

Naturally, whatever health insurance legislation they do finally generate…I don’t want to lose the terrific coverage we have right now through my husband’s employer. And if you’ve got a job coverage, or spouse with a job that provides coverage, you don’t want to lose those benefits either. So if you have constructive ideas on how to make healthcare legislation work – please tell you legislators! Give them some good ideas (don’t just harrass them and yell at them).

[OK, you can start reading again.]

Yesterday we went downtown in Los Angeles to a meeting at IRS’s new offices. The various managers working out of the new facility dropped in to introduce themselves. Wow! What an impressive group of people. We learned a great deal about the mysterious inner workings at IRS, the new hires, audit and investigation projects and more. Read this weekend’s Tax Watch column for the details. It will include some tips and tricks related to shared COBRA payments.

In IRS News this week, David and Mary Mellem, EAs tell us about a shocking turn of events. You really want to be very careful when you take advantage of a loophole in the early withdrawal penalties related to retirement plans. What looked like an innocent move cannot be undone once implemented. As they say – OUCH!
Also, IRS gives us tips on summertime child care expenses.

In today’s Money Funny – you will learn how to walk on water

In TaxQuips this week, we learn whether or not to file a return if you don’t owe money; does putting a mobile home on land you already own qualify you for the first time homebuyers credit? How can you make quarterly estimated tax payments to California – or your state; Can you make up information to match your bank statement if your cancelled checks are missing?

As always, we love your feedback, opinions and ideas.
You are what makes all this fun – and interesting!

Please use the Comments link online.

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Hugs from your favorite TaxNerd,

Eva Rosenberg, EA

Your TaxMama is watching…out for you.


07.31.2009 2nd Quarterly Payroll Returns and Pay Taxes Due

07.31.2009 2nd Quarterly Sales Tax Returns and Pay Taxes Due

08.17.2009 Employers Make monthly Payroll tax deposit

09.15.2009 Employers Make monthly Payroll tax deposit

09.15.2009 Corporate & Partnership Returns Due- FINAL DEADLINE

09.15.2009 3rd 2009 Estimated Payment – all entities Due


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