The IRS is plowing ahead with controversial plans to use its files to try to prod more people to sign up for Obamacare — but the tax agency has promised Congress it won’t break any privacy laws.
The letters are set to go out beginning next week, and are aimed at Americans who are paying the tax penalty rather than obtaining health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The IRS says the 2010 law requires it to inform those individuals they could do better by signing up for the embattled program.
“In keeping with our commitment to taxpayer confidentiality, we will send the letters directly to taxpayers; under no circumstances will we share the identities of these taxpayers or any other protected taxpayer information with CMS or with any other entity,” IRS Commissioner John G. Koskinen told Congress on Oct. 31, in documents obtained by The Washington Times.
But congressional Republicans, already intent on repealing the health law, say tapping the IRS to boost Obamacare is dangerous, and risks disclosure of taxpayers’ secret information to others in the government.
According to congressional aides, the IRS is set to dispatch the letters in two batches before key enrollment deadlines.
It will send notices to 800,000 filers between Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 — ahead of the Dec. 15 deadline to buy a plan in time to be covered by Jan. 1. An additional 6.7 million Obamacare holdouts will see an IRS notice in January as the administration makes a last-ditch plea for sign-ups ahead of the final Jan. 31 deadline.