IRS: Following the Law is Not An Absolute

Thanks to the folks over at CATO, we have a video of the current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, speaking before the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee early this week. He was being questioned about taxes and Obamacare, and asked about subsidies being repaid.

Chairman Brady said, “The law in that case is that there is not a cap. Subsidies must be repaid. Will you be following the law in that recapture?”

Koskinen replied, “Yes, wherever we can, we follow the law.

In other words, following the law is a “can”, not a “must”.

With regard to Koskinen’s remarks, Forbes had an interesting observation:

“Numerous Treasury and IRS staffers have told investigators from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that they knew back in 2011 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act didn’t authorize them to issue health-insurance subsidies through Exchanges established by the federal government. But they did so anyway. (And now they’re in court.) The Wall Street Journal‘s Kim Strassel writes about it here. Given that context, Koskinen’s remark seems like an admission that the IRS sees the law more as a set of guidelines”.

Indeed. I wonder if anyone was to get audited by the IRS, that they could use the phrase “Wherever we can, we follow the law” successfully in their defense.

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