‘Liberty Tax’: White House, Media Attack After Drudge Pays Obamacare Opt-Out Penalty

A White House aide set off a stampede of liberal media criticism for Internet news pioneer Matt Drudge over Obamacare – but his critics don't seem to understand how small businesses pay taxes.

The brouhaha started when Drudge tweeted, “Just paid the Obamacare penalty for not 'getting covered'... I'M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX.”

Jesse Lee, the Director of Progressive Media at Barack Obama's White House, responded that that was a “Flat lie, no fee for previous year,” adding, “Scary how much influence he once had.”

Lee’s response to Drudge set off a firestorm in the liberal media, with many mainstream media and left-wing reporters countering him on Twitter and in their own articles to claim he does not have to pay Obamacare’s Individual Mandate tax until next year. The individual mandate went into effect Jan. 1 of this year, and most people paying their taxes right now are paying taxes for 2013.

“Dude, there's no penalty until next yr,” Sahil Kapur of the leftwing Talking Points Memo tweeted.

Kapur’s colleague at TPM Dylan Scott wrote a full story with a headline alleging Drudge was “probably lying.”

“Americans don't pay a penalty for not having health insurance until they file their 2014 taxes -- in 2015,” Scott wrote. “So either Drudge is lying or he paid a huge penalty a year earlier than he needed to.”

“Penalty isn't collected until 2015,” Sam Baker of National Journal tweeted at Drudge. 

The Huffington Post’s Jeffrey Young wrote a full article in which he described Drudge’s tweet as “weird” and a “little head-scratching” because the Obamacare tax does not kick in until the 2014 tax year.

Drudge indicated in his followup tweets that since he is self-employed as the proprietor of The Drudge Report, he files as a small business. According to the IRS’s website for self-employed individuals, they are required to pay taxes quarterly.

“As a self-employed individual, generally you are required to file an annual return and pay estimated tax quarterly,” the IRS website reads.

So, when they file and pay those 2014 first quarter taxes, such individuals have to pay the Obamacare Individual Mandate tax if they opted to not have health insurance—like Drudge just did.

Additionally, the IRS form (1040-ES) for estimating quarterly taxes specifically recommends adding the mandate penalty to line 12 for "other taxes" -- to pay before the first quarterly deadline of April 15. 

“It is true that thousands of small businesses will be forced to pay Obamacare taxes quarterly in 2014,” a Senate Budget Committee aide told Breitbart News on Friday afternoon.

Drudge even indicated as much in followup tweets, but the left-wing reporters—and the White House—have left their criticisms of him intact.

“Dazed team Obama media reporters think Opt-Out tax 'year away’?” Drudge tweeted. “Not for small businesses that file Qtr estimates. We're there NOW, baby #pay.”


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