300,000 Taxpayers Overpaid Obamacare Fine by $35 Million, IRS May Not Return Money

President Obama
President Obama / AP
July 15, 2015

Approximately 6.6 million U.S. taxpayers paid a penalty for not having health insurance imposed this year under Obamacare, and hundreds of thousands of them overpaid the fine.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the number of taxpayers paying the fine, which was put in place to encourage Americans to enroll in health coverage, exceeded the Obama administration’s initial estimate by 10 percent.

According to a new report from the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the average fine paid by taxpayers was $190. The penalty, however, can reach up to 1 percent of one’s income.

The report also discovered that about 300,000 taxpayers, most of whom should have been deemed exempt because of low income, overpaid the fine by $35 million. The average amount overpaid by each individual was $110.

The IRS has yet to decide whether or not it will return the funds to those who overpaid.

"Since the majority of taxpayers use paid tax-return preparers, most would probably spend more than the roughly $110 average overpayment amount in preparer fees if amended returns are required," the National Taxpayer Advocate said. 

According to the report, approximately 10.7 million U.S. taxpayers filed for exemption from the penalty, which was famously deemed a tax in a 2012 Supreme Court decision that upheld Obamacare as constitutional.

UPDATE 11:59 A.M., Thurs., July 16: An earlier version of this post's headline incorrectly identified the amount overpaid to the IRS as $38 million.

Published under: Obamacare