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First, a friend has asked the ObamaMart Help Line "I’m uninsured. Do I have to buy insurance or pay a penalty?" and gotten the answer, "Probably, unless you are exempt because you are one of the following:" the answer then lists "such low income you are not required to file a tax return...."

Is it strictly accurate to say there is no penalty in that case, or is it the case that the penalty is waived? Among other things, it's easier to modify/cancel a waiver than it is to cancel/instate a penalty.

Second, the IRS' enforcement mechanism for collecting the penalty, currently, is limited to deducting the penalty from such refund as might exist, and this is touted as an excellent reason for the taxpayer blowing off the penalty. But in most cases, the IRS is allowed to look back a number of years in order to collect unpaid taxes along with interest and penalties. Is that the case here? Can the IRS look back under Obamacare and collect the Obamacare penalties as back taxes should a (larger) refund show up, or should the IRS be given a sterner penalty enforcement mechanism?

Eric Hines
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