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Obamacare’s Top Five Middle Class Tax Hikes

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, 3:53 PM PERMALINK


President Obama and his Democrat allies often claim they want to raise taxes only on those Americans they deem “rich.” What they forget to mention is that among the 20 new or higher taxes in Obamacare, at least seven directly hit families making less than $250,000 per year.  Below are the top five worst:

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 ten 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 special needs schools can run thousands of dollars per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax increase 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, approximately 10 million families take advantage of this tax deduction each year.  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. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax:  Because of Obamacare, since 2011 millions of Americans have not been able to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines using pre-tax Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts dollars. Examples include cold, cough, and flu medicine, menstrual cramp relief medication, allergy medicines, and dozens of other common medicine cabinet health items.

4. Obamacare Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax:  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 has 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.”

Americans liable for the tax will pay a percentage of their adjusted gross income or a set dollar figure, whichever is higher:

 

1 Adult

2 Adults

3+ Adults

2014

1% AGI/$95

1% AGI/$190

1% AGI/$285

2015

2% AGI/$325

2% AGI/$650

2% AGI/$975

2016 +

2.5% AGI/$695

2.5% AGI/$1390

2.5% AGI/$2085

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 was an early warning sign that the Obama administration was ill-prepared for Obamacare implementation.

Photo credit: Barack Obama

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